Thrills 'n Chills -- boys hoops

Coby Gibler pounds home a dunk against Eastside Catholic Tuesday. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Coby Gibler pounds home a dunk against Eastside Catholic Tuesday.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

Strong play by Coby Gibler under the basket has the boys picking up speed.

Cody Gibler is having a standout year, and the Bainbridge boys basketball team is reaping the benefits.

The junior center registered a double-double Tuesday against Eastside Catholic with 22 points and 18 rebounds, then did it again Thursday against Lakeside with 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Spartans defeated the Crusaders 66-41 and the Lions 70-46.

Head coach Scott Orness is pleased with how Gibler has improved his play.

“It starts with Coby on his defense and how hard he hits the boards,” Orness said. “We’re also getting the ball to him now. We were struggling just getting passes into him, but now our guards are really looking inside, and they’re doing a great job feeding him and he’s doing a great job getting to the basket.”

Gibler and the rest of the team started off slow against Lakeside in the first quarter, but Steven Gray was on fire as he hit his first five shots, scoring 15 in the period.

Lakeside kept it close and was down by one after a bucket by Brendan Vandor, but Bainbridge went on a 15-3 run to go into the locker room up by 13.

Chris Kelly had five points in the quarter, while Gibler, Gray, John Bruns, Caleb Davis and TJ Benz all contributed.

Orness was frustrated at times with the team’s first-half defensive play and how they handled the Lions’ zone defense at the other end.

“Lakeside was really working hard for loose balls,” he said. “We had good ball pressure, but our helpside ‘D(efense)’ wasn’t very active.

“Once we picked up how we were working off the ball, we started to get a lot of steals, a lot of loose balls and good things started to happen.”

Gibler took over in the third quarter, scoring six points and disrupting the Lion post players from making shots. Nick Fling, Davis and Bruns all hit threes in the period as well, putting the game safely out of reach.

“The improvement in scoring is what’s making the difference this year,” Kelly said. “Offensively, we’re starting to execute, and that’s why we’re starting to whomp teams that in the past we’d just hang with, then win by two or three points.”

And that execution is needed to hang in a very tough Metro League Mountain Division, as Bainbridge is 4-2 and tied for third with Eastside Catholic.

“These two were big ones,” Ornesss said. “We needed to make sure we took care of these to solidify where we’re at.”

Gray agreed.

“This week was huge for us,” he said. “I think we’ve played our style of basketball this season. We’ve had a few lapses, but I think we’re going to get stronger as the year goes (on.)”

Gray finished with 20 points, 10 assists and four steals.

Bainbridge plays North Kitsap Monday at 2:15 p.m. at Key Arena.

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