High school gymnasiums on Friday nights during the winter are typically busy with basketball buzz.
That might not be the case in West Sound this winter, depending on which team we're talking about. A peek at the regular season schedule over the next two months shows some schools won't spend much time on the hardwood on Fridays — at least not for games.
The Olympic League, in particular, opted to avoid having its teams play a Friday-heavy schedule. Between the boys and girls teams at Bremerton, Kingston, North Kitsap, North Mason, Olympic, Sequim and Port Angeles, there are currently 56 games involving Olympic League teams scheduled for Thursdays, while 21 are scheduled for Fridays.
For South Kitsap, the Wolves have a broad mix of games in the South Puget Sound League 4A with a handful of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday dates. The same goes for Crosspoint in the Sea-Tac League 1B, where the Warriors have a lot of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday games, but few scheduled for Fridays.
Conversely, almost all of Central Kitsap's games in the South Sound Conference 3A are on Wednesdays and Fridays, while a majority of Klahowya's contests in the Nisqually League 1A are Tuesdays and Fridays.
So what's behind the lack of Friday games for some teams? There doesn't appear to be one firm answer.
Peninsula Basketball Officials Association assigning secretary Darrell Dieringer said having games spread across multiple days each week helps ensure all contests can be covered, but refuted the notion that a referee shortage is to blame for the infrequency of Friday games.
When it came to piecing together the Olympic League's basketball schedule, one league athletic director told the Kitsap Sun that a majority of schools and their administrators wanted to limit the amount of Friday games in order to ease employee workloads. That athletic director also pointed out that a majority of girls soccer and volleyball games in the fall are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so basketball is receiving the same treatment — at least for 2022-23.
Coaches offering feedback on the schedule alternation said they believe Friday games are more beneficial than ones held on Thursday.
Bremerton girls head coach Nancy Harris said more fans typically show up to games on Friday than any other day. North Kitsap girls head coach Karla DeVries agreed.
"Friday night games give students/fans a safe form of entertainment," DeVries said. "I am guessing more people would be likely to attend on a Friday knowing they don't have to work or go to school the next day."
DeVries said a Thursday road trip to Port Angeles, for instance, means a late night for athletes and coaches, all of whom have to attend school/work the next day.
"The Tuesday-Thursday schedule also makes it difficult to properly prepare for that second game," DeVries said. "Only one day between isn't enough prep time."
"It's not what's best for kids," North Kitsap boys coach Scott Orness said. "It's two times a week they get home late and have to wake up to go to school and it's one-day prep in between games."
Crosspoint girls head coach Jenny Kuske said as long as teams can avoid games on consecutive nights, athletes and coaches should be able to make the best of things.
"Tuesday/Thursday may not give you the big 'Friday night' game, but it does allow you to easily play three games in a week, with none of them being back-to-back," said Kuske, whose team is scheduled to play several Saturday games. "I think that's a plus for athlete longevity."
New faces on the bench
There are seven new head coaches on the sidelines this winter, including a pair in Port Orchard. William Smith takes over as South Kitsap’s boys basketball coach, replacing Brian Cox, while Anthony Lewis replaces CJ Scott as South Kitsap’s girls basketball coach. Scott is serving as an assistant for Lewis.
Former South Kitsap standout Kelsey Callaghan is the new girls coach at Olympic. A three-time all-league player during her time with the Wolves, Callaghan has coaching in her bloodlines.
She is the daughter of John Callaghan, who coached South Kitsap’s boys program and won 304 games before stepping down in 2019, and the sister of Olympic College men’s basketball coach Ryley Callaghan. John Callaghan will serve as a girls volunteer assistant this winter.
It will be a Deam family tandem at Kingston as KT Deam replaces Henry Guterson as the Buccaneers’ boys coach. Deam, who graduated from Kingston in 2013, was an all-league player for the Buccaneers. His father, Charles, coaches Kingston’s girls program.
Derrin Doty stepped down as Crosspoint’s boys basketball coach after leading the Warriors to the Class 1B state tournament last season. Former assistant coach Ben Dykstra is now leading the program.
At Central Kitsap, Marshaun Thompson replaces Ashli Payne as girls coach, while Zach Burnham replaces Karen Byers as girls coach at Bainbridge.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Kitsap prep basketball schedule features fewer Friday games