NK sophomore Erickson earns spot on All-Kitsap News Group second team

While a few area boys basketball teams continue their battles into the postseason with eyes fixed on the ultimate prize of a state championship, other teams like North Kitsap have begun to focus on off-season preparation. And what better way to begin the charge for 2008 than with recognition of the jobs well done in 2007.

While a few area boys basketball teams continue their battles into the postseason with eyes fixed on the ultimate prize of a state championship, other teams like North Kitsap have begun to focus on off-season preparation.

And what better way to begin the charge for 2008 than with recognition of the jobs well done in 2007.

The Kitsap News Group sportswriters recently sifted through the past season’s performances, and stats and coach, player and media experiences to recognize Kitsap County’s standouts.

And here they are, the 2007 All-Kitsap boys basketball team, led by the head coach of the Bainbridge Spartans, Scott Orness.

Coach of the Year — Scott Orness, Bainbridge: In his sixth season at the helm, Orness led the team to their best season ever, a No. 1 ranking regardless of classification and are one of the favorites to win it all. Bainbridge finished the regular season 18-2 before storming through districts thus far.

Starting Five

G — Tippy Burk, South Kitsap: Burk has been Mr. Reliable for the Wolves the past three seasons, stepping out with a sensational offensive sophomore season, then returning as a junior defensive power. This year, Burk brought both sides of his game to lead the Wolves to a 15-5 regular-season run. He averaged 13.2 points a game and helped South come from behind to win both the Bridge Division and Narrows League titles.

G — Steven Gray, Bainbridge: The senior was one of the stars for Bainbridge this season, leading the 3A classification in scoring with 21.3 points. He also had 8.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. A near-lock for his fourth straight AP all-state team, he’ll continue his top play at Gonzaga next season after being nominated as a McDonald’s All-American this year.

F — LP Neloms, South Kitsap: When Neloms went down with an ankle injury in the first playoff game this year against Kentwood, the impact was felt almost immediately. The Wolves struggled in scoring 39 and 38 points in their two playoff losses. A 6-3 wing, a senior Neloms averaged 16 points per game and 6 rebounds for the Wolves. He played a significant part in the Wolves’ title games, scoring 17 points to beat Bellarmine Prep for the Narrows League title in early February.

F — Patrick Lewis, Bremerton: Lewis was arguably the most polished post player in the entire Olympic League. The 6-3, 235-pounder averaged 15 points per game while corralling 8.3 rebounds per contest. Lewis kept his opponents off balance with a repertoire of low post moves which proved to be unstoppable. He didn’t allow many opponents to get second-chance points as opponents found it difficult to maneuver around his large frame in the paint.

F — Coby Gibler, Bainbridge: The senior was another stellar bookend to Gray as he averaged 14.1 points and 10 rebounds per game while helping the Spartans to their first Metro League Mountain Division title since their entry into the league.

a member of the 2001 BI Little League All-Star team that made it to the World Series.

Bench

John Rarig, Klahowya, forward — A key senior leader for Klahowya, Rarig helped turn around a team that was 0-20 his sophomore year. Averaging 16 points and about 5 rebounds per game, Rarig led the Eagles to their top season yet, advancing to the district playoffs in 2007.

Kyle Erickson, North Kitsap, guard — Taking the Viking reins this year as a sophomore, Erickson was North’s most consistent playmaker and at times its floor general. Though the fledgling squad struggled to pick up wins, it was never lacking for heart and Erickson was no exception. He averaged 14.1 points per game with a fickle jumper and determined drive. He also dished just more than four assists per game.

Rich Smith, Olympic, forward — Smith was a big reason Oly tasted success on the hardwood this season, literally and figuratively. Smith, at 6-8, dwarfed many of his opponents, giving him an inside edge in averaging 14.2 points and about 5 rebounds per game. A senior, Smith helped turn a Trojan team that won only four games the past two seasons into a 13-win regular season this year.

Joe Pisa, South Kitsap, forward — Pisa was a consistent performer for the Wolves during their impressive regular season. A 6-5 forward, Pisa averaged 12 points per game and 7.3 rebounds. When defenses would bottle up LP Neloms or Tippy Burk, Pisa would exploit — giving the Wolves’ a sort of triple threat to throw opponents back on their heels.

Ben Wilson, Bremerton, forward — Wilson’s top asset on the basketball court was his versatility. He has the size (6-5) to bang with the big men in the post, and the athletic ability to play on the perimeter. The multi-talented Wilson averaged 13.6 points per game while collecting 7.4 rebounds per contest.

Trace Jordan, Bremerton, guard — Trace Jordan captained the ship for the Knights during the 2006-07 campaign. Jordan’s lead-by-example approach paid off. He may have averaged 14.1 points per game, but it was his leadership qualities that set him apart from the rest of the players in the Olympic League.

Brandon Durham, Central Kitsap, forward — At 6-5 and just a sophomore, the young Durham still has a lot of growing to do for CK. But his youth didn’t keep him from averaging 13 points and 6.1 boards per contest. Durham is part of a talented CK sophomore class that should help offset the loss of several key seniors.

Honorable Mention

Richard Kendrick, Bremerton, forward

Tyler Hopper, King’s West, forward

Taylor Hoffer, North Kitsap, wing — A 6-7 sophomore with the agility of a two-guard, Hoffer exploded onto the Viking scene with a 28-point burst in his first game. Though he lacked consistency, Hoffer’s potential is bigger than his size 15 foot.

Kris Carlson, South Kitsap, forward

Caleb Leavitt, Klahowya, guard

Brandon Fisher, Olympic, guard

Michael Dorsey, Central Kitsap, guard

Austin Wood, Bainbridge, forward

David Skeels, King’s West, guard

Josh Koets, Bremerton, sophomore

Jordan Coover, North Kitsap, guard — The junior was a vital piece of the Viking energy as it seemed any time North would stagnate, Coover would invoke intensity. Be it through a steal, a fast break, a quick drive or a monster block, Coover was a creator.

Garrett Boone, South Kitsap, wing

Kyle Spoon, Klahowya, guard

DeAndre Warren, Olympic, guard .

Daniel Zylstra, Central Kitsap, guard

Nick Fling, Bainbridge, guard

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