Spartans rebound for tourney win

"The members of the Bainbridge High School girls’ basketball team stayed in the locker room for a long time following a flat, flattening 50-41 loss to Enumclaw Wednesday night.It’s not known just what was said, or whether tears were shed. What is known is that whatever was bothering them during the first-round game of the four-team White River tournament in Buckley was completely shed by the following night.The Spartans, remembering how to play like the champions they made themselves into last year, closed the tourney on a cheerier note with a taut 53-50 victory over the Cascade Bruins.“We played a lot better,” Bainbridge coach Penny Gienger said. “We played as a team, we played good ‘D,’ we played hard. It was great to see.”Leading the way was 6-1 center Kim Beemer, who bullied her way to 20 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.Beemer seemed on her way to a similar performance the night before against Enumclaw, racking up 10 points and nine rebounds by the time the two teams went into the locker room locked in a 25-25 tie.She didn’t score a point the rest of the game, though she wound up with a career-high 17 rebounds.The finger couldn’t be pointed at any one person, however, after the Spartans fell apart in the fourth quarter after a 35-35 tie, giving up 14 of the game’s next 16 points.Bainbridge won as a team Thursday night, and lost as a team Wednesday.Enumclaw lacked the imposing height and quickness of teams that usually give the team trouble. Their dogged defense, somewhat similar to that shown by Olympic League foe Port Angeles two weeks before, gave the Spartans all kinds of fits, however.On one end of the court, their attacking, ballhawking style plucked away at Bainbridge’s collective poise, forcing the team into one errant pass after another. Altogether, the blue-and-gold contingent committed 33 turnovers.On the other end of the floor, the Hornets attacked the ball in another fashion, making up for a lackluster outside shooting game with numerous offensive rebounds – and putting in more than a dozen for crucial second-chance points.The Spartan meltdown could also be seen statistically in its free-throw line efforts. Traditionally a solid part of the Spartan game, Bainbridge’s players have struggled so far this season to find their stroke at the stripe, shooting just under 65 percent for the season.Against Enumclaw, the team made just 11 of 25 attempts, including the front ends of five separate one-on-one opportunities that could have either captured or solidified Spartan leads.Alexis Kimball, visibly bothered by back problems, gamely contributed 10 points and seven rebounds. Molly Dolan also played well in extended front-court action.Other than that, there wasn’t much worth singling out.“They just pushed us around out there, and did whatever they wanted,” Gienger said Wednesday night. “When the going gets hard, we just don’t seem to know what to do. I’ve given them the offenses and defenses they need to work with. It’s just a matter of executing.”Said Enumclaw coach Ted Carlson: “I saw them play in the state championship, and I knew they would be a big test for us. I had heard about number 21 (Kimball) and knew they’d be a problem for us inside.”To compensate against Bainbridge’s obviously superior physical attributes, Carlson said, his team played its usual patient pressure game.“That’s the only way our team is going to create points, and that’s the way we’ve been doing it,” he said. “We knew if we got into a halfcourt, perimeter kind of game, we were going to be in trouble.“It’s not our strong suit to begin with, and we know Bainbridge can defend it. So we had to look for ways to keep attacking them and keep them off-balance.”The plotline, essentially the same in Bainbridge’s 67-46 loss to Port Angeles, seems to have contained an object lesson that the Spartan players carried into the tourney’s wind-up workout against the Bruins.The team carried the lead virtually from beginning to finish, but it was the defense the shone the brightest as sophomore guard Fab Rezayat, with able backing from Kimball, put the clamps on Cascade’s standout junior shootist, Kayla Huss.“She controlled her a lot – just wore her out,” Gienger said.Kimball finished with 14 points.Bainbridge, now 4-3 overall, returns to Olympic League play with back-to-back home contests next week. The first, against middle-of-the-pack Olympic, is a 7 p.m. Tuesday contest at the Woodward Middle School gymnasium.The second, against Port Townsend, was originally scheduled for Friday night but was moved to Saturday so the Spartans could be the first team to play an official game in the brand-new Bainbridge High School gymnasium.The game will be preceded by a host of inaugural ceremonies, to be announced sometime next week by school district officials.Bainbridge JV also splits: Coach Korrie Beemer’s squad dropped a hard-fought overtime heartbreaker to Enumclaw in its White River Tourney opener, 47-46, before bouncing back to blast Cascade the next night by a 51-36 score.Beemer was proud of her team’s effort in both games. In the Enumclaw loss, Bainbridge was down by seven points with just 1:30 left in the overtime period, but made up the deficit and almost took the lead before missing two free throws with a few seconds to play.Beemer was especially pleased with the vastly improving play of Laura Hornung, Jenny Maurer and Carlie Miller.Hornung, a 5-11 sophomore who was slowed by a knee injury earlier in the year, scored a season-high 15 points against the Hornets and chipped in 12 more in the win over Cascade.Maurer, a 5-7 freshman, tallied 11 against Enumclaw and 18 against the Bruins – a season-high for any Spartan JV player.And Miller, a 5-5 ninth-grader, continues to shine with standout ballhandling and quick-footed defense."

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