By AARON MANAGHAN
When most students at Olympic High School see their teachers and coaches, it’s in the classroom or on the courts. Likewise, when they see Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies, it’s almost always behind the wheel of their patrol cars or out and about in uniform.
But for the sixth year, Oly students got a glimpse of both groups in a whole new light: on the basketball court.
The Olympic High School staffers topped the Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies 69-61 Wednesday in the sixth annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving fund-raiser, avenging a narrow 69-67 defeat at the hands of the deputies last year.
After the final whistle blew, Kitsap’s MADD Chapter President Marsha Masters said the event is one of the best the group puts on.
“This is the top,” Masters said. “This is fun. Because it’s competitive; they want to win. But it’s still fun. It’s fun for everybody.”
Last year, the deputies jumped out to a big lead on Olympic, but this year, it was the Trojan staffers who started with hot hands.
After the opening minute and a half went by without a score, Oly staffers Mitch Lant and Mike Giersch hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Oly a 6-0 lead. That grew to 8-0 with an inside bucket from Kevin Dotson 30 seconds later.
The deputies finally got on the board when Paul Woodrum hit a three. That would be the extent of the deputies’ offense in the first quarter for the most part however, as the Trojans led 19-4 after the opening frame.
Things didn’t change much to start the second as Oly’s Katie Fanua hit a three ball right out of the gates to make it 22-4 Oly, the team’s largest lead of the game at 18.
The deputies also got rolling in the second, however, and paced Olympic to a 36-32 halftime margin.
“A lot of these guys are good athletes,” Olympic boys basketball and Oly staffers coach Devin Huff said of both teams. “They’ve been around sports and basketball a long time.”
At the half, Masters had Olympic senior Samantha Miller and sophomore Larry Dixon both step up to the free throw line, with each firing a couple warm-up shots before attempting the same shot wearing a pair of beer goggles designed to simulate various levels of intoxication.
After each was on line with the basket in their warm-ups, they both sent shots while wearing the goggles wide right, often missing the backboard entirely.
And while the demonstration was certainly a humorous sight for those in attendance, Masters said it also had a more serious real-life application.
“It’s a fun way to do it, but it’s also a way to send a very serious message,” she said. “If you can’t shoot a basket (drunk), how can you drive a car?”
Deputy Ken Dickinson then had two more volunteers, Olympic students Deanzalo Thomas and Danny Corkill, step out and don the goggles as well, with one wearing a pair designed for a higher level of intoxication than the other. Dickinson put the two through a staged roadside sobriety test that had both Thomas and Corkill stumbling about.
“We love doing that,” Dickinson said. “Hopefully the kids like it too.”
One of the best benefits of the event for the deputies, Dickinson said, is the kids get to see them as more than just a badge and uniform.
“This is a lot of fun,” he said. “The nice thing is the kids see us as regular people; getting goofy, sweating, running hard. That’s a lot of fun.”
Masters agreed, saying it gives the fans in attendance a glimpse of the deputies’ lighter sides.
“They get to see the deputies in a whole different light instead of the blue light flashing behind their car,” Masters said.
Trojan staffers felt similarly, as athletic director Steve Lutz pointed out. He said while the staff have long been able to give students a playful ribbing, the tables were now turned.
“I’ve heard the kids talking. We’ve had opportunities to give them some bad times,” Lutz said smiling. “The kids had the opportunity to see some of their coaches out here tonight. But some of the guys out here are very athletically talented.”
More of that talent showed in the second half as the deputies trimmed Oly’s lead to 38-32 at one point on another three by Woodrum. Oly went on another run shortly after however, sparked by a great reverse lay up by Olympic girls hoops coach Rick Peters. Back-to-back threes by Giersch brought fans, especially the Oly student body in attendance, to their feet as the Trojans led 51-39 going into the fourth quarter.
Not easily deterred however, the deputies battled back, cutting the lead to seven with just more than 3 minutes to play.
But the deputies had to start fouling, securing Oly’s advantage the rest of the way. The Oly staff never trailed in the game.
Deputy Joe Hedstrom led all scorers in the game with 20 points, while Olympic grad and deputy Cory Manchester scored 19. Alan Languth added 10 for the deputies while Woodrum finished with seven, Dave Meyer scored three and 1983 Oly grad John Johnson added a bucket. Dickinson also played in the game for the Kitsap Couny Sheriff’s deputies.
For Oly, which lived by the three-pointer, Giersch led with 17 points, including five treys. Nate Andrews, the school’s baseball coach, added 14 for the Oly staffers, hitting two more threes himself. Kevin Dotson was not far behind with 13 and Peters also found himself in double digits with 10. Oly’s Jake Garland and Peter Van Datta each scored four while Fanua and Lant both finished with three apiece. Leif Kasperson scored a point and Matt Stanford, Ken Whyte, Lutz and athletic trainer Scott Peck also suited up for the Trojan staff. Olympic hit a total of 10 three-pointers in the game.
But again, as Huff stated, it was about much more than a game.
“This is fun,” he said. “And obviously it’s for a good cause.”
MADD also had a wrecked car on display in front of the entrance. Masters said if other schools were willing to jump on board, she’d be more than happy to spread the event far beyond the boundaries of Oly’s gym, mentioning that a similar game was played a few years back at Central Kitsap, but lasted just one year.
“These guys love it,” Masters said of the deputies. “They’d do it at all the schools if we could get the staffs to do it.”
The game was even more special for Masters, a former teacher who retired from Olympic in 2004 after 30 years.
“I used to teach here,” she said. “Some of those (players) were my kids.”
While everyone was all smiles on the courts following the game, Lutz said again that the event was nothing more than a great opportunity to get MADD’s message further disseminated amongst the Oly student body.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to spread the word. If there’s one kid out there that heard the message and thinks about it, maybe you saved a life.”