Sports Roundup - Sparts fall to Blanchet/Island cyclist off to Europe/Silver to swim for Americans

A late defensive clampdown wasn’t enough to make up for three quarters of listless play, as the Bainbridge Spartan boys fell to previously winless Blanchet, 54-40, in varsity hoops action at Paski Gymansium Tuesday.

Trailing most of the game, Bainbridge scrambled to within sight of victory on a late three-pointer and a trio of free throws by Caleb Davis.

Mike Walsh tied the contest at 47-all off a crosscourt feed by Nick Fling with 1:40 to go.

The buckets followed a defensive surge that saw Fling win a scrum for a loose ball at midcourt, then call a heady timeout while prone on the hardwood.

That effort led to a Davis trey and then a nice block by Fling at the other end. But the Spartans couldn’t ride the momentum all the way to a lead, and Blanchet pulled ahead again on free throws and a three-pointer by junior guard Stephen Reinhart.

“We played a great six minutes at the end, when we played a great deal of intensity,” head coach Scott Orness said. “We’ve got to learn to turn those six minutes into 32 minutes to be a good ballclub this year.”

Blanchet played a patient, ball-control offense and rarely ran the court. The Braves were content to work the ball around the perimeter and wait for open looks, and as a team stroked six three-pointers for the contest.

Bainbridge trailed most of the game, including deficits of 12-6 after one quarter and 26-20 at the half.

Davis led the Spartans with 15 points. Ben Eisenhardt added 13, Nick Fling 10, Mike Walsh 8 and Ryan Burris 4.

The loss dropped Bainbridge to 3-2 in Metro League play, 3-3 overall.

The Spartans played on the road last night against Seattle Prep, and will see holiday tournament action Dec. 26-28 at Bellevue Community College.

Their next home game is at 7 p.m. Jan. 7, when they host international play against the Bunbury Roos of Australia.

– Douglas Crist

Island cyclist off to Europe

Bainbridge High School student Zach McDonald will represent the U.S. at the World Championship Cyclocross Races in Treviso, Italy, after taking second in the National Championship last week.

The 16-year-old cyclist, who races in a junior men’s division, is already in Belgium with the national team, preparing for a series of European races leading up to the championship at the end of January.

Cyclocross is a winter cycling sport raced on courses with obstacles like water and steep hills that force riders to dismount and run with their bicycles.

It’s a bit like the steeplechase at track meets, said Paul Johnson of Classic Cycles, where McDonald works as a mechanic. The races demand both toughness and coordination.

“What makes Zach particularly exceptional is that his athletic prowess might not be as great compared to the other riders, but he can ride through things that the other guys can’t,” Johnson said.

McDonald’s mother Donna said he rides downhill and street races in the summer but winter cyclocross is his favorite sport. Though he will miss school to compete internationally this year, he has done well balancing cycling and school.

“He’s always been a good student,” Donna said. “He picks up on things really quickly.”

As a parent she said she enjoys watching the races, though at times they get rough.

“There are spills and pileups and a lot of mud,” she said.

At the National Championship in Kansas City, Kan., McDonald finished the 12.7 kilometer course in 38 minutes 38 seconds, just behind Luke Keough of Sandwich, Maine, who won with a time of 37:58.

– Tad Sooter

Silver to swim for Americans

Bainbridge Island’s Emily Silver will be among 26 of the nation’s top swimmers, including five Olympians traveling to Manchester, England to represent Team U.S.A. at the 2008 FINA Short Course World Championships, April 9-13.

Silver, a 2004 graduate of Bainbridge High School now a standout swimmer at the University of California at Berkeley, was one of 13 women chosen to compete at the event.

The Short Course World Championships mark the final international competition for U.S. pool swimmers before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

World record-holder Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) leads the men’s team which also includes his 2004 Olympic teammates Larsen Jensen (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Mark Gangloff (Akron, Ohio). On the women’s side, 2004 Olympians Margaret Hoelzer (Huntsville, Ala.) and Rachel Komisarz(Louisville, Ky.) headline the field.

The U.S. swimmers selected to compete at the Short Course World Championships were chosen based upon their performance at the USA Swimming Short Course National Championships earlier this month. Lochte won four events at the meet, and set two American records.

The team will also feature several members of USA Swimming’s 2007 international teams. From the 2007 World Championship Team, gold medalist Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) joins teammate Mary DeScenza (Naperville, Ill.). From the 2007 Pan American Games Team, gold medalists Randall Bal (Fair Oaks, Calif.) and Jessica Rodriquez (Aurora, Colo.) will again compete for the USA.

The official website of the 2008 FINA Short Course World Championships can be found at

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