Sports

Blast from the past: Spartan Varsity lineup faces 2007 all-stars in hoops benefit

Steven Gray, Coby Gibler, Ben Eisenhardt, and the rest of the historic 2007 Spartan basketball team will face off against the current members of the varsity squad in a fundraiser exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 16 in the Paski Gymnasium. Ticket proceeds will benefit the team booster club.   - Image courtesy of Scott Orness
Steven Gray, Coby Gibler, Ben Eisenhardt, and the rest of the historic 2007 Spartan basketball team will face off against the current members of the varsity squad in a fundraiser exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 16 in the Paski Gymnasium. Ticket proceeds will benefit the team booster club.
— image credit: Image courtesy of Scott Orness

Once, in the days of Bainbridge yore (2007) there was a legendary boys high school basketball team that played the game better than any in island history.

The team was ranked number one in the state by both the Seattle Times and Associated Press from the very start of that near-mythical long ago season. Those supernatural Spartans of yesteryear went 25-4, won the Metro Mountain Division Championship and SeaKing District Championship, but ultimately lost a heartbreaking game in the state championship to O’Dea and finished in second place.

“This team turned the island into hoops hysteria with sell-outs at multiple home games,” Spartan Head Coach Scott Orness recalled. “More than 9,000 islanders took the ferry to the University of Washington to watch the Spartans battle for the state title. We had some packed houses. In fact, [in] the game where we played O’Dea for the championship they had to turn away a couple hundred people.”

Now, like some kind of epic prophecy, the legendary 2007 lineup is returning to the Bainbridge High School court. There, they will face off against the current varsity lineup in a fundraiser exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 16, with ticket proceeds going to benefit the team booster club.

Tickets will be sold at the door. The cost is $5 each, $3 for children.

“The [2007] team was led by Steven Gray who was honored as the Metro League MVP, 3A State Player of the Year and State Championships MVP,” Orness said. “Steven went on to play four successful years at Gonzaga and is currently playing professionally overseas. Other players that went on to play basketball beyond high school were Coby Gibler [at] Central Washington University, Rudy Sharar [at] University of Washington, Ben Eisenhardt [at] Cal Poly/Whitman and Caleb Davis [at] Claremont-McKenna.”

However, if you think the Spartans of today are quaking in their sneakers at the thought of facing the champions of 2007, you’d be wrong.

“We’re kind of full speed into our summer season,” Orness said Tuesday. “We played 12 games in the last seven days, and we’re 11-1.”

Records aside, Orness said that this exhibition is more about a shared love of the game of basketball than who wins.

“I think this game is more about fun and there are some kids in the ‘07 class who probably aren’t going to be in great basketball shape,” he laughed. “It’s a fundraiser for our Spartan booster basketball club.”

The night’s event will also feature a special halftime ceremony honoring longtime Spartan coach Dean Scherer, who is being inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in July.

Scherer is one of four coaches selected for the honor and will be recognized officially at the 39th Annual Hall of Fame Banquet at the Allenmore Events Center in Tacoma on Wednesday, July 23.

The evening festivities will also include a raffle for door prizes, Spartan and Roots gear for sale and refreshments.

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