Spartans long on leadership -- Winter Sports Preview

Senior and co-captain Zach Townsend shoots a jumper in practice. - JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo
Senior and co-captain Zach Townsend shoots a jumper in practice.
— image credit: JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo

The third season is generally a key benchmark for a high school basketball coach. By the third year, virtually all of the players on the team have come up under that coach’s tutelage, and the opportunity for optimum payoff on the court begins to show.

Spartan boys’ coach Scott Orness enters his third season on the Bainbridge bench this year, and he is excited about the potential on the island hardwood.

“I’m very happy with the leadership in the program,” Orness said, after putting the Spartans through a Saturday-morning practice to wrap up the first week of turnouts.

Heading up that leadership for Bainbridge is third-year varsity player, senior co-captain Schuyler Boone. At 6-foot-7, Boone is the tallest player on the relatively small Spartan squad.

“Schuyler’s going to have to carry the load for us on the inside,” Orness said.

A pair of younger Spartan players –sophomore Theo Miller and freshman Coby Gibler (both 6-foot-5) – pretty much round out any visible height in the paint for Bainbridge.

But Orness shows no signs of alarm. To the contrary, he figures Bainbridge to continue as a rebounding force in the league. Statistically, Bainbridge finished in the top two in the Metro League for total team rebounds.

And it’s the court experience of the rest of the boys in blue and gold that has Orness predicting another strong season for the Spartans.

“We’ve got quite a few players with a lot of basketball experience,” Orness said.

“The harder they work, the more fun they have.”

Varsity returners for Bainbridge, besides Boone, are co-captain senior Zac Townsend, a guard-forward swing player from last season; senior guard Mark Korsak; and junior guard Grant Leslie – just coming off the fall football season as the starting Spartan quarterback.

Moving up from last year’s junior varsity are seniors Dan Canfield, Eric Baker and Andrew Chavanu; and juniors Cody Bludorn and Lance Trueb and freshman John Bruns. Also playing up with the varsity after sitting out last year with an injury is guard John Grue.

“We have a good core of guards,” Orness said, pointing out the strength of backcourters Korsak, Townsend and Canfield.

“We beat eight out of the 11 teams in the league last year,” Orness said, adding that he expects the Spartans to battle with the best again this season.

Across the Metro Mountain (private school) division in which Bainbridge participates, Orness expects Seattle Prep to hold the favorite position early in the season, as nearly every player is back. O’Dea should be another league power, boasting a backcourt with professional hoops lineage – the sons of Nate McMillen and Sean Johnson. In the Sound Division, Rainier Beach returns as a league favorite.

“We have tough division foes,” Orness admitted. “But it helps us to prepare for the post season.

“I think we can surprise some of the powerhouses,” he added.

Helping out Orness in the coaching ranks are volunteer varsity assistant Ryan Gillmore, junior-varsity coach Mike Florian, and C-team coach Brad Lewis.

The Spartans open play at Nathan Hale next Tuesday, will be at Central Kitsap on Wednesday night, and host West Seattle next Friday. JV start at 3:15 p.m., and 6:15 p.m. is the varsity tipoff. The West Seattle varsity game is the first of a double-header evening at Paski Gymnasium as the Spartan girls take on West Seattle in the nightcap.

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