POULSBO — If the adage “there’s strength in numbers” is true, then the Poulsbo Panthers boys’ basketball team has an advantage in selecting its varsity and junior varsity teams for the coming season.
Eighty players came out for last week’s team tryouts — a number head Panthers coach Clary Carlsen was impressed to see.
“It’s nice to see this many kids interested in it,” he said. “We haven’t had a turnout this large since before Kingston Junior High School was built.”
That number was cut by about 50 players over the weekend, leaving 15 players each for the varsity and junior varsity teams.
Carlsen said the varsity team will not be the tallest team he’s coached, but certainly one of the more athletic and enthusiastic squads he’s had an opportunity to work with.
“We don’t have a lot of size,” Carlsen said. “But I feel that we have a number of kids who athletically will be very good. And I like their enthusiasm.”
“I think our tallest kid is (six foot one inch),” Carlsen added. “Often teams will have two guys that are (six foot four inches) and (six foot five inches).”
Carlsen said he does not believe loss of height is not a disadvantage — but rather a chance to change the strategy.
“We have a lot of what I would call ‘guard-type’ kids,” he said. “We’ll adjust to our size.”
Skills will also be emphasized in practice, Carlsen said.
“Skill-wise, there are not any that couldn’t use improvement,” he commented. “Basketball skills have a long way to go.”
In football, the two North Kitsap junior high schools wait until late in the season to play each other. In basketball, the cross-North End rivals will face off in both teams’ first games of the season Nov. 25. And Carlsen said he expects that the two teams will run very different offenses.
“If (Kingston Junior High School Coach) Tony Chisholm says his team has a powerful front court, I’d say our strength is in our guard and swing (positions),” Carlsen said. “We’ll have to develop a front line.”
Ultimately, two different offenses mean a diverse style of play that will benefit North Kitsap High School team next year. Only three players from both junior highs aren’t moving up to high school next year and only one from PJH — a fact coach Carlsen said he keeps in mind.
“What we’ll try to do is what (Aaron) Nations does,” Carlsen said. “We met with him to see what he’d like us to work on and that’s what we’ll do.”