Heartbreak on the Hardwood -- boys basketball

Chris Kelly, Mike Walsh and Charlie Fick can’t hide their disappointment in the last seconds of the Spartan boys’ loss to O’Dea on Thursday in the Sea-King District 2 tournament. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Chris Kelly, Mike Walsh and Charlie Fick can’t hide their disappointment in the last seconds of the Spartan boys’ loss to O’Dea on Thursday in the Sea-King District 2 tournament.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

O’Dea denies a state tourney berth to the Bainbridge boys, who fall 50-44.

BELLEVUE – All season long, O’Dea and Seattle Prep were the thorn in the Bainbridge boys basketball team’s side, as the Spartans dropped three of four games to the two private schools in the regular season.

In the playoffs, they went 0-2.

The Spartans lost to the Panthers 68-60 last Friday at the 3A Sea-King District 2 tournament, rebounded to blow out Chief Sealth 83-69 on Tuesday in a loser-out game behind the 46 points of point guard Steven Gray, but fell to the Fighting Irish 50-44 in another loser out game on Thursday.

Head coach Scott Orness felt the game was theirs to win, but the Spartans failed to capitalize at several key moments.

“We were right there,” Orness said. “We were one basket away from getting a lead on O’Dea, and if you can do that, the game changes. You gotta hand it to them. They came out and took it.”

Bainbridge kept it close in the first half, thanks to Gray who hit a couple of three-pointers, but O’Dea went on a run to put them up by seven at the break.

In the third, Gray closed the gap with a three that hit the back of the rim and bounced up, then dropped in, while Theo Miller scored on a putback to close the gap to two.

Reggie Moore hit two free throw shots to push the lead back to four, but Nick Fling split his free throws at the other end.

Gray and Chris Kelly then scored on tough drives to the basket to give the Spartans their first lead of the second half.

It wouldn’t last, as Moore and Chris Banchero scored on jump shots, while Gray went out for several minutes after another hard drive to the basket resulted in him hitting his head.

Coby Gibler had a chance for an easy bucket after Caleb Davis made a nice save off a Jamelle McMillian deflection, but missed the putback and was called for traveling.

“It wasn’t our best game,” said a dejected Kelly afterwards. “It wasn’t a game that we would have liked to go out.”

Down by three going into the fourth, O’Dea slowed the pace way down by holding onto the ball.

But they couldn’t hit their shots, and several times they turned it over.

Gray scored on a pair of free throws, while Miller scored on another putback to close the lead to just one.

Then, after another O’Dea turnover, the Spartans made their biggest turnover of the night, as Michael Duty stepped in front of the pass and drove down the lane to score.

Miller tried to stop him but fouled him instead, sending him to the line to complete the three-point play.

Bainbridge then turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, and Austin Wood was called for a flagrant foul when he ran into Banchero.

O’Dea never looked back.

“We played them tough,” Miller said. “It’s that things just weren’t working out there.”

Orness felt they didn’t get many breaks, but they made too many mistakes down the stretch.

“You can’t do that against them,” he said. “Being down a couple of points against O’Dea is like being down 10-15 points.”

The Spartan boys finished their season with a record of 19-7.

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