Kingston Buccaneers may still be team to beat

Kingston's Sam Byers, middle, races Bainbridge's Chris Bell for the basketball during the season opener (non-league) Nov. 29. Bainbridge defeated Kingston 58-54.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Herald

KINGSTON — To compare the 2011-12 Kingston Buccaneers varsity basketball team to the 2010-11 team would be unfair.

Like all public school sports teams, players come and go. Each year is different.

However, of the 12 varsity players that were on the team last season, seven returned. This includes three starting players. Those seven competed last season in the 2A State Champions, where the team took third.

The Bucs, who will be led by captains Sam Byers, KT Deam and Richie Sander, travel to Port Angeles to take on the Roughriders today. The varsity game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Kingston team of crimson and gold played its first game this season (non-league) against the Bainbridge Spartans Tuesday, losing 58-54. The game came down to the final minute. The 2010-11 Bucs defeated Bainbridge 64-62.

Though the team did not shoot the ball or retrieve as many rebounds as it should have, Kingston coach Blake Conley said the game was a learning experience. The team can’t rely on its height or strength alone to win games. For example, when fighting for the rebound, players must execute fundamental basketball, not just jump.

“If we just jump for every ball, then the chance of the rebound is 50-50,” Conley said Wednesday. “And we don’t want that.”

Walking away with a loss during the first game, but knowing more about itself, could potentially be more beneficial.

Though the team has good height, its strength is going to be down low. Guards, including Deam, who scored 11 points against the Spartans, will play a key role.

The players’ ability to penetrate through opponents’ defense and drive to the hoop should be solid as well. Byers, at 6-foot-10, proved that point Tuesday. The senior forward scored 20 points, tying with Bainbridge’s Chris Bell for most points scored.

And although the Bucs may not be as quick, Conley said the ability to play defense is solid.

While he does not like to compare a past Kingston team to this season’s, Conley admits returning players will have a new experience to bring to the floor. Last season, the Bucs took third in the 2A State Championships. Those players know what it takes to win.

“On the other hand, everybody is 0-0 in the [Olympic] League right now,” Conley said. “Nobody is going to lay down because of how we did last year and teams will probably be gunning for us.”



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