Hoopsters make it to districts

As long as Brittany Gray keeps playing at this high a level, the Bainbridge girls’ basketball team will gladly reap the benefits.

The 5-11 junior wing scored a career-high 34 points and grabbed 19 rebounds – 11 on the offensive side – as the Spartans took out Bishop Blanchet 72-53 in a Metro League playoff game to advance to the district tournament.

The 34 points by Gray puts her career total at 1,152 points – good enough to put her three points behind two-time state tournament MVP Christina Marshall for third place on the all-time scoring list.

The 19 rebounds also put her at 736, moving her to the top of the career rebounding list ahead of Alice Russell, who coincidentally is also the school’s scoring leader.

Gray is also third in 3A in scoring with 19.9 points a game.

It was a tough go at first, as the Braves took the lead through most of the first quarter.

Gray tied it at 12 with a three point play and a split of her free throw shots while Emily Farrar followed with a three pointer to put the Spartans on top.

Blanchet briefly took the lead in the second quarter, but Gray put them back in front after she made a steal and went the distance for the layin.

She scored five more points while Kirsten Michael banked in a three at the buzzer to send Bainbridge into the locker room with a seven-point lead.

The Spartans kept the lead for the second half, though Lori Pearson made things interesting with two threes late in the fourth, but the Spartans went on a 9-0 run to wrap it up.

“The first quarter, they came at us with everything they’ve got and we stayed patient,” head coach Penny Gienger said. “I was really impressed with the way we ran the things we needed to run.”

Bainbridge plays Rainier Beach Saturday at 5:30 p.m. for the fifth seed to districts.

On the other side, the boys’ basketball team put everyone through the wringer before emerging with a 62-61 win over West Seattle.

The Wildcats took a early 14-8 lead on the back of seven points by Malcholm Love, but the Spartans exploded for a 15-2 run, as Caleb Davis hit a three and Ben Eisenhardt converted on consecutive three-point plays.

West Seattle scored the first two buckets of the second quarter, but after that, both teams couldn’t buy a bucket.

Both sides suffered from turnovers, missed shots and even had a few that went in and out before T.J. Lee connected on a pair of free throws at the 2:19 mark.

Jesse Powell and Nick Fling broke Bainbridge out of their slump with a pair of crucial three-pointers to put them up by three.

Up by two to start the fourth, Bainbridge opened with a 9-4 run to give them some space.

Davis hit a three while Mike Walsh made two big steals that led to scores.

Darnell Gross helped cut the lead to three when he was fouled on a three pointer, but later had another attempted three hit the backboard of a hoop while Love couldn’t convert on an alley-oop.

Powell came up with some big plays of his own as he grabbed a loose ball off a Wildcat deflection and later grabbed a big defensive rebound off a missed layup by Lee.

He converted two free throws with 41.6 left, but another break went against West Seattle when Kenny Wheeler scored, but the basket wasn’t counted as the ref thought that the Wildcats called timeout.

Gross later scored to cut the lead to three, but Davis was fouled and split the free throws.

It was critcal as Keenan Allen quickly hit a three, but the clock wasn’t stopped in time.

After 1.3 seconds were put back on the clock, the Spartans lobbed the ball back in and the Wildcats couldn’t get the ball in time.

“They played hard,” Davis said. “They’re a good team.

“We were a little rusty (at the line) but it worked out and I think we’re going to work on that at practice.”

Bainbridge plays Bishop Blanchet Saturday at 2 p.m. for the fifth seed to districts.

The district tournament starts Tuesday.

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