PORT ORCHARD — School may be out, but students are still hanging around their local gyms, putting in the time and effort to try to get a leg up on their sports competition for the next school year.
Four Kitsap girls basketball programs faced off in scrimmages last weekend at South Kitsap High School. The hosts welcomed Central Kitsap, Bremerton and Olympic to their gym for a few runs up and down the court.
All four teams have head coaches who are either entirely or somewhat new to their programs. Olympic head coach Bryan Hanley will be on the bench for his third season with the Trojans while Scott Neumann begins his second season at Central Kitsap. C.J. Scott and John Standridge are in their first seasons with South Kitsap and Bremerton, respectively.
For the two new head coaches, it was an opportunity to get a first look at their players against outside competition and to build a little camaraderie within the basketball community.
“I love the fact that we’re doing stuff like this — we’re all interacting,” Standridge said.
Standridge takes over a varsity program that has just one win since going 9-10 in 2016-2017, but he said he’s excited for the opportunity to rebuild the Bremerton program.
“I hate using that word, but that’s kind of what it is,” Standridge said.
For the past five years, Standridge has served as the JV coach and an assistant coach. He has also coached AAU in Port Orchard and his daughter Hailey is a 2017 graduate of South Kitsap.
At Bremerton, he hopes to put together a committed team that wants to play at a fast pace, but he acknowledged that might take some time.
“It’s a process, so I know it’s going to be slow — but I’ve got patience,” Standridge said.
At South Kitsap, Scott takes over for Mike Allen and has inherited a young team, which should give him room to put his own stamp on the program. Scott has been something of a jack-of-all-trades for South Kitsap in recent years. In addition to his duties as the school’s volleyball coach, he took over the boys swim program for a year, as well.
“We have a young group. They’re great kids,” Scott said. “They just have to get used to playing together and put the time in.”
South Kitsap graduated three starters from last year’s team, but a number of freshmen and sophomores were able to get significant playing time.
Among the returners that powered the Wolves to 37-23 win over Bremerton July 6 were sophomore guards Natalie Millet and Mia Spandler, as well as returning junior post player Marissa Linne. The team has a nice combination of size, speed and scoring ability.
“It’s a good mix,” Scott said. It’s about finding that group that’s going to play hard for one another.”
Central Kitsap was victorious in its first game July 6, defeating Bremerton, 38-23. Olympic then beat Central Kitsap, 34-26. Each game consisted of two 20-minute halves.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.