Scott Orness, Nicole Hebner take over as head coaches of boys, girls basketball teams

Two familiar faces will head up the Bainbridge boys and girls basketball teams next season.

Scott Orness returns to take over as head coach of the boys' basketball team while JV coach Nicole Hebner moves up to be the head coach of the girls' basketball team.

Orness, who resigned in 2008 to spend more time with his family, said he wanted to return as a head coach, but was not sure where he wanted to go.

"It (the Bainbridge job) wasn't on my radar," he said. "But when (former coach) Steve (Henderson) resigned suddenly I had to make a quick decision."

Orness also said the decision was made easier knowing that his wife Molly and his children Emma and Cade will be more involved the second time around.

"The main reason I wanted to come back was my kids are old enough now," he said. "Before, when we would tip off they would be in bed. Now they can come out and enjoy it and be a big part of it.My wife will be a big part as well - she's a big basketball fan.

"My whole family is really excited for me," Orness continued. "They know what it means to me and I will see not just people, but my family in the stands. The kids have the opportunity to see their dad have a passion and work hard for something. It'll be something good to see as they grow up."

Another reason was that he wanted to build and grow relationships with the players he coaches.

"I love coaching middle school, but its hard to develop relationships with the players because the middle school season is so short," he said. "The one thing I really miss is watching a 14-year-old kid come in and leave as a young man. I love being able to build those relationships over those ups and downs."

Orness spent the past three years coaching the middle school boys and girls teams at Woodward. He led the boys team to a share of or the outright West Sound League title all three seasons.

The 36-year-old compiled a 99-70 record during his first tenure at Bainbridge. His best season was in 2006-07 when he coached a team led by future Gonzaga standout Steven Gray to the 3A state championship game.

He said he plans to put together a new staff in the next two weeks, but he also has bigger plans in store.

"Steve launched a lot of good things that I recognize and I want to build on that," Orness said. "But when you're a head coach, often you're going 100 miles an hour and you get tunnel vision, so there's a lot of stuff you miss out. Now that I've been away for three years, I have a lot of ideas I want to implement, so I'm really excited."

His goal is to build a feeder program where both players and parents who come in are on the same page with what the high school program does. Orness wants to partner with the Bainbridge Parks and Rec District to work together on a program that helps players build their skills and helps parents build coaching skills.

Orness will also continue to run his Orness Basketball Camps, now in their tenth year of existence.

Four camps will kick off during the month of July, including the High Potential Camps for boys and girls in fourth through ninth grades. For more information, visit Orness' website.

While Orness gets reacclimated to coaching high school basketball, Hebner will not have to make much of an adjustment.

"I've known many of the kids and worked with them for a long time," she said. "The kids and the parents were real supportive of me and wanted me to take the job. This kind of opportunity doesn't come often, so I decided to just go for it and see what happens. I think it'll be real fun."

Hebner is a 1999 graduate of Bainbridge High School. She was part of the last girls' basketball team that won a state title in the year she graduated. She was also a standout golfer and earned All-Olympic League honors as a setter on the volleyball team.

She has coached the JV girls team for the past five years and also coaches the JV boys' golf team and is an assistant on the fastpitch team with friend and former basketball teammate Liz McCloskey.

Hebner said she still plans to continue as coach of those teams and will still be a substitute teacher with the Bainbridge Island School District.

"My life won't change that much," she said. "I'll just be in charge of the basketball team now."


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