By AARON MANAGHAN
SILVERDALE — If last week was any indication, the Bremerton Knights could surprise come next Saturday’s 3A Sub-Regional Tournament, which BHS is hosting once more.
Bremerton started off with a strong eighth-place showing at the Klahowya Klassic last weekend, tying with Kennewick with 112 points.
That led to a strong finish at the Battle of the Bay, also hosted by Klahowya, on Wednesday, as the Knights fell hard against Klahowya 54-22 but rebounded with a narrow 36-34 loss to Olympic.
“It was fun,” Barton said of the Battle. “We started off a little slow against Klahowya, but we stepped up against Oly.”
It was Bremerton’s first year at Battle of the Bay in the dual meet’s 28-year existence. Klahowya joined the fray last year after the first 26 were specifically between Central Kitsap and Olympic. Bremerton and CK each fought twice while Klahowya and Oly both wrestled three times.
“They surprised and went after it,” Barton said specifically of the Oly match. “They didn’t back off. That was nice to see. Now we’ve just got to get ourselves ready for the postseason.”
At the Klassic, Bremerton held their own against 14 teams from 13 schools (Auburn Mountainview brought two teams), with AM defending its crown with 172 points to the host Eagles’ 159.
112-pounder Billy Richardson again showed why he’s one of the top in the state, pinning three consecutive opponents to take first against Kingston’s Alex lambert, pinning him in 1 minute, 5 seconds. None of his matches went past the first round.
Things were a little more difficult Wednesday however.
After Richardson won by forfeit in the Knights’ loss to Klahowya, Richardson met up with a familiar foe in Oly’s Jesse Borcherding, also considered amongst the top in the state. It was the first of what could be several meetings between the two this season.
In Borcherding’s first match back after suffering a concussion that prevented a possible match-up between the two 112ers at the CK Matman Classic two weeks ago, both wrestlers opened jockeying for position when Richardson got a take to go up 2-0. The first period ended that way.
Borcherding lifted Richardson shortly after the second started, put him down, but couldn’t quite get control at first. Eventually he did for the take, tying the score at 2-2. Richardson was able to reverse it shortly thereafter to go up 4-2. Borcherding almost got out for an escape but barely didn’t as time expired in the round.
In the third round, Borcherding rolled Richardson, getting the near fall, but Billy slipped out after being nearly pinned. He had his legs wrapped up over his head, but somehow lasted long enough to slip out of it. That gave Borcherding his first edge at 5-4. Borcherding then tried to scramble to his feet but Richardson fell on him for the 6-5 win right before regulation time ended.
“That kind of set the tone,” Barton said. “And I’m sure sub-regionals will be another barn-burner.”
Back at the Klassic at 119, Jordan Hernandez-Jones pinned his way into the final match before getting caught by Mountainview’s Drew Dacey, landing Hernandez-Jones in second place. He too had a memorable match with Oly on Wednesday however, knocking off Brandon Truini 10-7.
“That Truini kid is a tough kid,” barton said. “That was a great match to watch. (Hernandez-Jones) had to step up against that kid.”
Andrew Beliveau also placed a 119 at the Klassic, taking a third-place tie in the bracket. Third-place matches were not wrestled due to match counts.
While no other Knights earned podium placements Saturday, Lauren Richardson (103), Bobby Dingle (103), Cody King (125), Mark Ebbay (135), Grant Claridge (140), Tommy Hanberg (145), Chris Fleming (152), Andres Garcia (189) and Michael Aguada (215) all won at least one match.
Garcia was in a third-fourth match, as was Lauren Richardson, but both suffered shoulder injuries that hampered their late-round performances, with Garcia injury-defaulting the third-place bout. Both did not wrestle at the Battle of the Bay.
With so many taking wins Saturday and Wednesday, Barton said he’s pleased with several.
“Cody King is starting to get it back again,” Barton said. “(Kevin Schiffman) stepped up and wrestled well. And Grant Claridge too. He worked hard.”
While Hanberg got pinned in two tough matches Wednesday against Olympic’s Lucas Kogut and Klahowya’s Karl Neumann, Barton said the experience will only make him stronger.
“I love the fact he goes after those tough kids,” Barton said. “He knows they’re better than he is, but he’s gonna give it everything he’s got.”