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"Farewell, Olympic LeagueThe Spartans bid their longtime foes adieu with another league title."
"Coach Penny Gienger couldn't have scripted Friday night's game at Central Kitsap any better as her girls' basketball team prepared for post-season play.Her team had been outplayed and outscored during the third quarter and trailed by three. Add a partisan Cougar crowd and a talented Cougar team that desperately wanted a victory and the scenario was complete.The Spartans responded. Keyed by six Emily Pierce points, Bainbridge went on a 9-2 run to open the fourth quarter and take a 54-50 lead, then held on for a hard-fought 58-55 win and a share of the Olympic League championship.It was a great, district-like game, Gienger said. Both teams played really well. Their crowd was wild and loud, and ours was the same, which helped.Pierce had a big first half, scoring 15. The Cougars then double- and triple-teamed her, creating openings for other players, particularly Fab Rezayat - who finished with 12 points on five of six field goal shooting - and Alice Russell, who added 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, as well as blocking a crucial field goal attempt with less than two minutes left.Finale a winWith the hard game out of the way, the girls returned home for the regular season finale on Saturday against North Kitsap and the traditional honoring of the seniors - Pierce, Alexis Kimball, Tiffany Steele and Angela Asher. Pierce opened with 11 points in the first quarter, but perhaps tired from the previous night - she'd been cut several times and had several bruises visible from the stands - could get one point the rest of the night.With the Spartans ahead 4-2 nearly two minutes into the game, Christine Schwager ignited a 21-6 run with a 10-footer. She added two more jumpers, Rezayat added four points and sent a seeing-eye pass to Pierce for an easy hoop, two of the 11 points she scored during the quarter.As she headed upcourt after making another field goal, a spectator turned to her father.Did Emily get a tattoo? he asked, referring to a mark on her arm plainly visible from the stands.No, it's just a bruise from last night, he was informed. The effort, emotion, and energy from the previous evening seemed to catch up with the team as they opened the second quarter with a 25-10 lead and the game well in hand. The scoring pace slacked off and highlight of the quarter was sophomore guard Carlie Miller making like Husky quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo as she lofted a 20-yard strike to Jenny Maurer for an easy layin. With the score 38-16, Gienger let the team stay on the bench during the halftime break to watch the dance team's performance.Bainbridge scored the first six points in the third quarter before North Kitsap finally got on the board with more than six minutes elapsed.The Vikings scored five points in the last 20 seconds to reduce the third quarter deficit to 50-27. In the final quarter, the team tried to get points for seniors Asher and Steele and set up Pierce to hit a trey, something she'd never done as a varsity player.While neither goal was successful, no one seemed to mind as the game ended 61-32. The gym took much longer than usual to clear out, as team members, parents and other spectators wanted to savor the flavor of one of the Spartans' finest-ever seasons. Despite losing three of their top eight players to early-season injuries, the girls won 15 games and all five losses were to teams ranked either in the top 10 or on the bubble in various 3A and 4A polls.Given the rancor evident in other games this year, it was especially rewarding to see Viking guard Mari McKinstry - who had an off-night with just nine points - huddled happily with Rezayat and several other Spartans in the post-game euphoria. Pierce led the team with 12 points and 12 rebounds, Schwager added 10 points, Maurer and Rezayat each had nine, Russell had eight and Courtney Kimball had seven. Miller dished out five assists.The team opens district play with a game next Tuesday at 3:30 against the winner of a game later this week between the Pierce County League's No. 2 and No. 4 teams.Bainbridge JVs 59, Central Kitsap JVs 14 - Tiana Gallagher scored a season-high 19 and the second-highest individual total - Lee Maloney had 20 against South Kitsap - and Haley Wiggins added 11. Bainbridge JVs 63, North Kitsap JVs 63-27 - On paper, this sounded like a good game as the Vikings had a better season record and the Spartans had won by just 10 during the first meeting.But coach Korrie Beemer began the week by telling her team, Let's learn something new for the last two games.The new was a 1-2-2 zone press and the score was 10-0 before they knew what was happening, Beemer said. The team ended the season 14-5. We were better than the record shows, Beemer said, pointing out that the only losses - like the varsity's - were to ranked teams. "