BHS basketball looking to grow

BHS head coach Scott Orness is excited about the future of the program at Bainbridge.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
BHS head coach Scott Orness is excited about the future of the program at Bainbridge.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

Three different camps are ready to handle growing interest in team.

When Bainbridge boys basketball coach Scott Orness started at the high school in 2001, he had a hard time getting anyone to show up for summer workouts.

That first season, he only had 15 players attend, forcing him to move players around so there would be two teams.

So he asked Ed Pepple, the legendary boys basketball coach at Mercer Island, for advice.

“He said ‘All you need is one group to come through and set the tone,’” Orness said. “You just hope one group like that comes through.

“I think that group came through last year. They were at every function and they set the standard. Now, everyone is following through like ‘that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Thanks to those dedicated seniors – and an amazing season – the boys basketball program at BHS is experiencing a big wave of interest.

This summer, instead of the usual turnout of 35, they got 58 kids.

It was a new challenge for Orness to create new teams and find coaches to lead them for the summer leagues – he even has former star Steven Gray coaching one of the teams.

“We want to do our best to create opportunities for all 58 of those kids to get better at their basketball skills,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of competing for those 36 spots (on varsity, JV and the C-team).”

Because of the growing interest in the sport and the program, he also started two new camps to go along with the one he already runs during the summer at Paski Gymnasium.

The fifth annual Spartan Basketball Camp is the biggest camp of the year.

It runs June 26-29 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is for boys and girls in fourth through ninth grades.

Orness will be the camp director and have various players and coaches past and present along with coaches from other schools as counselors.

The cost is $175 and campers will receive a t-shirt, a notebook and a basketball.

The next camp is the High Potential Camp, which runs through July 28-31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It is for boys and girls from fourth grade through high schoolers in their senior year and it is designed to work on a player’s skills.

The cost is $250 and includes a t-shirt and a basketball.

The final camp is the Future Stars camp which is August 18-19 from 9 a.m. to noon.

It is for boys and girls from third through sixth grade and will serve as an introduction to the game.

Orness said parents are welcome to attend the Future Stars camp with their kids.

The cost is $85 and includes a t-shirt.

Orness said he created the two new camps to take advantage of the growing interest in basketball on the island.

But he doesn’t want people to think he’s doing the camps simply because of how well the team did so he can find the next big star that will lead the team to a state title in the future.

“These camps will give us an opportunity to, number one, introduce the kids to the high school (program) and what we do and the fundamentals that we teach,” he said. “But it’s not just for kids who are just dedicated to basketball. It’s (also) for kids that want to try it (the sport) out.

“We want to see what kind of talent we have, but that’s not the main reason,” Orness continued, noting that many of the current varsity players have attended the main camp for many years and he even gets players from off the island attending.

“Seeing these kids that go through the camps, they see these basketball players and they look up to them. The players know its their job to reach out to these young players and let them know that basketball is fun at fifth grade as well as 12th grade.”

For more info, contact Orness at

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