Monagle leads SK'a All-Kitsap contingent

This March marks the sixth-straight time the South Kitsap boys basketball team has advanced to the Class 4A state tournament in Tacoma and the third consecutive year the Wolves can be found all over the Kitsap News Group’s Annual All-Kitsap County basketball team.

The all-county team, made up of eligible players from schools in Kitsap County, was voted on by the sports editors and writers of the KNG, including the Port Orchard Independent, North Kitsap Herald, Central Kitsap Reporter, Bremerton Patriot and the Bainbridge Island Review.

This year, the team is broken into three distinct groups — a starting five, a bench made up of seven players and an honorable mention from each school.

With a second straight Narrows League title in the bag and the West Central/Southwest District title on the line tonight, a state ranking of No. 3 and an almost spotless 23-1 record, South had five players and its coach named to this year’s squad.

Senior Josh Monagle leads the list of Wolves honored by being named to the starting five while Tippy Burk, Ryan Sweet and L.P. Neloms were selected as bench players.

Conner Gehring made the list as honorable mention while John Callaghan was tabbed as the team’s coach.

The five South Kitsap players are the only ones on the team that will take part in the March 8-11 Class 4A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

2005-06 All-Kitsap County Boys Basketball Team

The Starting Five

•Â J.R. Gordon, guard, Central Kitsap: Perhaps the fastest and most athletic guard in the county, 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.

•Â Steven Gray, guard, Bainbridge: The junior point guard adjusted well to his new home, averaging 22.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2.5 steals per game while shooting 42 percent from the 3-point line and 87 percent from the free-throw line. One of the state’s top players, Gray should help Bainbridge make a run at state next season.

• Josh Monagle, post, South Kitsap: The big man in the middle had a solid senior campaign, averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds a 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. At 6-5 with a trimmed-down yet muscular frame, Monagle had little trouble fending off defenders in the paint. 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 facing off against often taller opponents. His rebounding presence was vital to Central’s run through the postseason.

•Â Coby Gibler, post, Bainbridge: The junior was one of the top forwards in the Metro League, averaging 11 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. The Bainbridge big man also shot 56 percent from the floor.

The Bench

•Â 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.

•Â Ryan Sweet, wing, South Kitsap: A nice compliment to Monagle, Sweet scored 12.3 points a game during the regular season with a 63.9 shooting percentage while pulling 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 led South to the Narrows League title. A solid defender who’s not afraid to bang away with bigger guys.

•Â 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 1.6 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 7 rebounds a game.

•Â Justin Turner, guard, Olympic: One of the best shooters in the Narrows, 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. The senior averaged 13.2 points per game to help the team improve to four wins, doubling the total of the previous season.

•Â 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.

•Â 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.

Honorable Mentions

•Â Conner Gehring, wing, South Kitsap: A three-year starter for the Wolves, Gehring was once again solid during his senior year, averaging 8 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.

•Â 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 and 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.

•Â Richard Smith, post, Olympic: Smith gave the Trojans a much-needed big man in the middle, grabbing 9 boards and scoring 7.7 points a contest. Just a junior, Smith will also be the key to continuing Oly’s improvement.

•Â Cody Oakes, forward, Central Kitsap: Playing a mixed role for CK from the outside and inside, Oakes not only snagged around 5 rebounds a contest while putting in around 7 points per game, but also finished second on the team is assists with 2.8 a game.

•Â Caleb Leavitt, guard, Klahowya: Leavitt was all-purpose for the Eagles, helping them stay competitive with his 10.4 points, 1.9 boards, 1.21 steals and 1.7 assists per contest.

•Â Dietreich Rios, forward, North Kitsap: The Vikes struggled to find offensive rhythm all season long, and toward the end of the year Rios became the 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.

•Â 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. He averaged 5 points, 2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Coach of the year

John Callaghan, South Kitsap: Proved once again why he is considered the best coach in any sport in the county by guiding the Wolves to a second straight Narrows League title and an almost perfect regular season despite losing two of the school’s best all-time players. The Wolves finished the regular season with a 20-1 mark. His aggressive style of defense, featuring a diamond-in-one technique that gives other teams fits, along with a more up-tempo offense had South ranked third in the state in Class 4A. Over the past seven seasons, his teams have compiled a 145-41 mark while placing at state four years in a row.

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