By WESLEY REMMER
Timely shooting, momentous scoring runs, physical play, a boisterous crowd and a junior who stole the show on Senior Night.
Finally, in a game that had it all Tuesday night, the Bremerton boys basketball team edged the Klahowya Eagles, 63-62.
“I’m happy for our seniors, this is their team. I’m glad we got them a win,” BHS coach Casey Lindberg said after the game. “Everyone contributed (tonight) and that’s what it takes to win.”
The biggest contributor was junior Josh Koets, who came out of nowhere in the second half, taking over the game en route to 23 points.
“Josh wanted to win tonight,” Lindberg said of Koets, whose sudden forcefulness in the paint — he grabbed 14 rebounds, 10 in the second half — proved to be the difference in the game.
“Rebounding is about desire,” Lindberg said. “Tonight Josh made up his mind that he wanted to make a difference.”
And it was Koets’ three-point play with 56 seconds remaining in the game that put BHS ahead for good. With Klahowya ahead 59-57, Koets took advantage of a crease in the Eagle defense, penetrating to the left side of the lane and drawing a foul on an off-balance 3-foot jumper. The shot fell and he converted the ensuing free throw, giving the Knights a 60-59 lead, and putting them in position for the eventual win.
“It was nice to send the seniors out on a high note,” Koets said, adding that Lindberg’s halftime speech helped him focus on rebounding. “He just told us, like he has all year, to stay in front of our man.”
After the Eagles opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run to take a 38-27 lead, it looked like Bremerton was en route to another second-half collapse. But Lindberg immediately called a timeout, making a few substitutions, allowing the Knights to close the quarter on an 18-3 outburst.
“Coaching is an interesting profession,” Lindberg said. “It’s something different every night and luckily tonight those substitutions worked out for us.”
Tuesday’s game was the last home game for five Knight seniors — Eli Olson, Chris Martindale, Johnny Olwell, Richard Kendrick and Jamaree Wells.
“As a senior, this is a win you want,” assistant coach Phil Olwell said. “Win or lose, this is a game you never forget.”
The Knights (7-12 overall) improved to 7-8 in Olympic League play and had an opportunity to even that record in the final game of the season at Sequim last night. The Knights are out of postseason contention however. Results of that contest were unavailable at press time.