Sports

Gray, Gibler are All-Kitsap selections

Spartan Coby Gibler eyes the hoop. - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
Spartan Coby Gibler eyes the hoop.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

The juniors paced the Spartan boys to a solid record in the tough Metro League.

The Bainbridge boys basketball team made big strides this season.

Bolstered by several talented returners in Theo Miller, Coby Gibler, Chris Kelly, John Bruns, Austin Wood and newcomer Steven Gray, the Spartans had one of their best seasons in the Metro League, going 19-7 but falling just one win short of State.

For their efforts, six Bainbridge players were named to the All-Metro team. Miller, Bruns and Nick Fling were honorable mentions.

Three Spartans also made the Kitsap News Group’s All-Kitsap team, as voted on by sportswriters from the Bainbridge Review, the North Kitsap Herald, the Central Kitsap Reporter, the Bremerton Patriot and the Port Orchard Independent.

Starting five

Steven Gray, guard, Bainbridge: The 6-4 junior point guard adjusted well to the challenges of 3A play in the tough Metro League – a year ago at Chimacum, he saw only 2A competition – averaging 22.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, four assists and 2.5 steals per game. He also shot 42 percent from the three-point line and 87 percent from the free-throw line. He was named to the All-Metro League first team. One of the state’s top players, Gray should help Bainbridge make a run at State next season.

Coby Gibler, post, Bainbridge: The junior forward/center was one of the top forwards in the Metro League, averaging 11 points, nine rebounds and four blocks per game. The Bainbridge big man also shot 56 percent from the floor. He was named to the All-Metro League first team.

JR Gordon, guard, Central Kitsap: Gordon utilized his speed and superior jumping ability to take the CK boys to the verge of the state tournament. And, after averaging 16.9 points, 3.3 assists and 5.9 rebounds a game, the Cougar senior not only landed the Bridge Division’s MVP award, but several collegiate offers as well.

Josh Monagle, post, South Kitsap: The big man in the middle had a solid senior campaign, averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds each game for the third-ranked Wolves. His presence under the basket was key in South’s run to a second-straight Narrows League Championship and the team’s sixth-consecutive trip to the Class 4A state tournament.

He made 67.9 percent of his field goals during the regular season with six blocks, 16 steals and 20 assists in South’s first 20 games.

Mike Simpkins, forward, Central Kitsap: Simpkins would be CK’s best athlete if not for Gordon. But the 6-4 senior used his athleticism to not only score 13.6 points and grab 6.9 rebounds per game, but also to handle the opening tip duties for the Cougars despite often facing off against taller opponents. His rebounding presence was vital to Central’s run through the postseason.

The bench

Tippy Burk, guard, South Kitsap: Although his scoring average was down from his super sophomore season, he was just as much of an impact player this year as anyone in the Narrows League. The junior point guard scored 5.6 points a game while dishing out 4.8 assists during the regular season. The scrappy defender also recorded 40 steals in 20 games.

Ryan Sweet, wing, South Kitsap: A nice complement to Monagle, Sweet scored 12.3 points a game during the regular season with a 63.9 shooting percentage and pulled down 4.2 rebounds a game. The 6-6 senior missed five games early in the season with an injured ankle, but returned in time to help lead South to the Narrows League title. He’s a solid defender who’s not afraid to tussle with bigger guys.

John Rarig, forward, Klahowya: In another rough season for the Eagles that did see them improve from no wins to three, Rarig proved to be among the Nisqually’s best. With a young and inexperienced supporting cast, Rarig still put up 12.5 points, 5.6 boards and 1.63 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor.

Ben Wilson, forward, Bremerton: Wilson was the guy everyone looked to stop this season if they were going to stop the Knights. And while Bremerton’s season may not have gone the way they would have liked, the junior managed 16 points and seven rebounds a game.

Justin Turner, guard, Olympic: One of the best shooters in the Narrows, Oly’s Turner wasn’t afraid to show it, launching 127 three-pointers during the season while draining 51 of them for a 40.2 percent mark from beyond the arc. The Trojan senior averaged 13.2 points per game to help the team improve to four wins, doubling the total of the previous season.

David Skeels, guard, King’s West: The Warriors made a late run after a rough start to the season and Skeels helped pull King’s West back to a respectable Sea-Tac League finish. The point guard scored 10.3 points per game and led the team with an average of 3.1 steals.

L.P. Neloms, wing, South Kitsap: The junior made great strides in his first year as a starter, averaging nine points a game. But his contributions as a defender and second ball handler were huge for the Wolves. The 6-3 junior had 45 steals in 20 games to go along with 82 assists.

Also tough

Chris Kelly, guard, Bainbridge: The senior guard was one of the best defenders in the state, holding the opposing team’s top scorer down nearly every night and providing a template for his teammates to follow. He averaged five points, two rebounds and 1.5 assists per game and was also an All-Metro honorable selection.

Conner Gehring, wing, South Kitsap: A three-year starter for the Wolves, Gehring was once again solid during his senior year, averaging eight points and 4.3 rebounds a game. His experience and ability to nail the big shot will be needed as South enters the state tourney.

Patrick Lewis, forward Bremerton: The Knights’ forward made honorable mention all-league averaging a double-double for the season with 10 points and 10 boards a game.

Tyler Lyon, forward, King’s West: King’s West relied on Lyon as their experienced attacker in the low post. He did not disappoint with a team-high 11.1 points per game on 50 percent shooting, while pulling down an average of 7.2 boards per game.

Richard Smith, post, Olympic: Smith gave the Trojans a much needed big man in the middle, grabbing nine boards and scoring 7.7 points a contest. Just a junior, Smith will also be a key to continue Oly’s improvement.

Dietreich Rios, forward, North Kitsap: The Vikes struggled to find offensive rhythm all season long, but toward the end of the year, Viking junior forward Dietreich Rios became their go-to threat. Now with a season to further hone his game and get comfortable in the leader’s spot, Rios will be back with a nearly new squad next year.

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