Girls hoopsters ready to go

A young team eager to go to the playoffs with a changing league.

Just like last season, the Bainbridge girls basketball team ran into problems with the weather as the Spartans’ contest with North Kitsap – originally scheduled for Nov. 28th – had been postponed twice due to the threat of snow and torrential rain dumped on Washington thanks to the Pineapple Express.

The problems with the weather were one part of a tough season for Bainbridge, as they went 14-12 and made it to the district tournament but were sent out with a 1-2 record, with both losses at the hands of Mount Si and Rainier Beach.

Out of those 12 losses, only five were by 10 points or more.

Senior guard Emily Farrar said that last year was tough on them.

“It took a toll on us,” she said. “But you got to deal with it.

“We’re lucky we didn’t lose power yet,” Farrar continued. “That’s what killed us was the power outages, because you can’t play in the dark. We tried, but we couldn’t do it.”

The Spartans lost seven seniors from last year’s team, including All-Metro and All-Kitsap County selections in guard Caitlyn Salo, center Megan Burris and guard/forward Lindsay Brationia.

Backup guards Angela Failla and Julia Weese were also lost to graduation.

But returning for the Spartans are several players ready to lead the team back to the playoffs.

Key among them are Farrar, a four-year member of the varsity team and junior wing Brittany Gray.

Farrar was a All-Metro and All-Kitsap honorable mention as she was the team leader in three pointers.

“It’s a little weird, but it’s fun,” she said of being the elder player on the team. “I remember being the freshman and the sophomore and not know what I was doing, going ‘oh my God, the other girls are going to hate me.’ So I remember how they feel.”

Gray, who verbally committed to Gonzaga last spring, averaged a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds last season, just one of four players to do so in school history.

She made the All-Metro and All-Kitsap first team for the second year in a row and was also named an Associated Press honorable mention.

“They’re pretty experienced starters,” head coach Penny Gienger said. “Any time you have that kind of experience it’s going to help you.

“They know what to do and they keep us together.”

Also back are senior center Claire Thomas, junior guard Kirsten Michael, junior wing Anna Wood and junior guard Jesse Vincent.

“It’s a young team,” Gienger said. “It’s a different team.

“We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to be good and what we’re bad at,” she continued. “We’re working hard. They’re putting a lot of effort in and they laugh and have fun too.”

Emily feels that many of the returning players have improved as well.

“I think Jesse has gotten a lot better,” Emily said. “Anna is going to clean up. She’s tenacious.”

Gienger said they have several girls that can step up and score.

“I think people are going to be surprised at how good Jesse is,” Gienger said. “I always believed she would be this good.

“She’s got a good shot and she can defend and I think people will be surprised at how good she is,” she continued.

Several newcomers to the team include junior wing Kate McKenzie and sophomores in post Rebecca Sharar, wing Grace Campbell and guards Kas Totura and Mallory Farrar – Emily’s younger sister – and freshman guard Micki Johns.

“Kate’s a scrapper,” Gienger said. “She’s going to work her fanny off. Mallory brings some speed and Rebecca has some inside game.

“We’ve got to get them some game experience, but I think they all can help us,” Farrar said. “But everybody’s got to play their part for us to be successful.

Another key to that success is an improvement in the team’s athleticism.

Chief among them is Emily – a three-year qualifier at the state cross country meet – but she said the team as a whole is much improved in their conditioning.

“We’re really, really quick,” she said. “We’re in shape and we can run. We might screw up but we don’t get tired.”

Bainbridge has shown that quickness off in two wins this season.

They defeated Olympic in their season opener 64-39 last Friday and beat Ingraham Wednesday 68-58.

Gray led the way with 18 points against the Trojans while Farrar and Vincent kicked in 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Against the Rams, Farrar scored 18 while Gray had 17 points and Michael had 12.

The two wins are part of a good start in a wide open Metro League.

Aside from favorite Seattle Prep, many teams have lost talent to graduation.

Gienger feels that Beach and Holy Names are tough teams as well, while Emily said that Lakeside and Nathan Hale will be tough competition as well.

“But with every team, it’s always a game,” she said. “You have to come out ready to play or they will beat you.

“I think we’ll go as far as we want to,” Emily said. “Our district is the hardest in the state. But I think if we come to compete, any team can win on any given day.”

Bainbridge played Hale yesterday and travel to West Seattle and Lakeside next week.

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