BREMERTON — The Kitsap Admirals have a saying, “We all eat,” meaning it’s share and share alike when it comes to the basketball and getting everybody involved in the game. If Kitsap can do that, despite its small roster, the Admirals feel like they can play with anyone.
Saturday night saw the Admirals not only eat but serve up dish after dish in a five-star dining experience on the basketball court as they routed the Quad City Flames in a 127-111 at Bremerton High School in their home opener of the Minor League Basketball Association season.
“I know a few of us played some games earlier today and to see us come out, and still get the win like that, it’s pretty impressive,” said Admirals guard Dré Winston.
Winston is a Lakes High product who works with kids as a mental health therapist for Catholic Community Services. Before that, he worked at Western State Hospital as a psychiatric care counselor. It’s a career he dearly loves and playing for the Admirals — specifically for coach Ashley Robinson — allows Winston to continue to pursue basketball at a high level.
Winston showed the poise, flash and downright scary ability to score from anywhere on the court — the same instincts that allowed him to play at Washington State, Portland State and last year in the pro ranks in Mongolia.
“I like to have fun out there especially when we’re playing good, playing together sharing the ball and everybody’s getting a little bit of everything out there,” Winston said.
Kitsap’s roster lists 16 players but the Admirals had six suited against the Flames, who had a full contingent sitting on their bench.
Turns out, it didn’t matter.
Kitsap jumped out to a 15-0 lead early, increased it to 42-18 after the first period and staked itself to a 69-47 cushion at halftime. It wasn’t much different in the second half save for a fourth-quarter rally by the Flames that cut Kitsap’s lead to 110-96.
“The caliber team I have, I have a bunch of ex-Division I-overseas type players,” said Admirals coach Ashley Robinson. “So they’re used to playing short numbers. This is normal for us.”
In just the team’s second game of the season, Robinson came away feeling pretty good about what he has and where this team can go this spring and summer.
“Really, honestly I’m impressed,” he said. “To be up by 30 (points) and control the game for the most part with six players was very impressive. We played this team before, and they got a bunch of new players, but I wasn’t expecting us to dominate the whole game like this.”
Robinson said by having the mentality of not settling for complacency with a large lead, the Admirals were able to dominate from end-to-end.
“One of the things I did (see) was we did have mismatches, so I wanted them to attack,” he said. “I didn’t want them to settle and keep on attack mode and transition defense — we had to get back.”
Winston, Marcus Whittaker, Pat Lewis, Dion Hawkins and Johnathan Thompson have been playing together for a few years and have developed a chemistry that doesn’t need words.
“They’ve played at such a high level it’s like second nature now,” Robinson said.
That kinship showed on long-range, no-look bounce passes between teammates trusting the other one will be there or behind-the-head passes to a teammate running full bore down the sideline for the pass and an open basket.
“That’s just playing free, playing with your guys, and knowing each other for some time now,” Winston said. “We just know where we’re at and we have that chemistry.”
The Admirals will be back at Bremerton High to face the Tacoma Thunder at 5 p.m. April 22.