Spartans look to rejuvenate basketball community

The Bainbridge High School basketball program hosted a Blue & Gold night Nov. 17 at Paski Gym.

The event included raffles, concessions, free t-shirts, skills and three-point contests and intrasquad scrimmages.

“I came up with this idea and something Will [Ferris] and I did in college too called Midnight Madness,” girls basketball coach Zach Burnham said. “I did it at Coppin State and most colleges do it to kick off the season. We put a high school twist with a DJ to help boost the energy for the season and future.”

Player Sam Nylund added, “It’s nice to see a rejuvenation of our basketball programs and even more special since it’s my senior year. We got a great group of guys and an awesome coach. I’m excited for what is in store for us.”

The idea arose about a month prior to the event. Burnham and Ferris pitched the idea to boosters, ASB and the athletic administration.

Ferris said, “There are a lot of people who got this thing going. It takes a community to make something cool.”

One of the most important aspects of Blue & Gold night was the free admission. Since students could attend at no cost, hundreds of them packed the bleachers.

“It’s really exciting because this is the most we have had for girls basketball in general,” player Bella Ramirez said. “The energy in the gym has been great.”

Nylund added: “It’s an awesome feeling to have support from your friends and family and everyone watching in the crowd. It gives me more confidence.”

Instead of raising money for the boys and girls teams, the idea was to expand into the community. “I’m looking for engagement in the community,” Burnham said. “The football team got the ball rolling this year with the crowd and success they had, and we want to build off of that because they deserve it.”

Ferris said: “It’s for the community but also the kids. It’s special for them to have an event like this. I told the guys at practice it’s hard to make a team on the island so it’s cool to give them this experience to start the season.”

As the event carried on, boosters from other teams at the school arrived with the idea of twisting it for their sport. Burnham also hopes each basketball team in Kitsap County steals their idea so they can have the same basketball atmosphere as Seattle.

In addition, Ramirez said, “Hopefully this can help make the gym more fiery and bring more people there.”

The Spartan boys team begins its season at Peninsula Nov. 29 and returns for its first home game Dec. 1 against Central Kitsap. The girls begin at home Nov. 29 against Mercer Island.