Spartans storm West Seattle, 87-21

It took about 20 seconds to remove any suspense about the outcome of Friday’s girls basketball season opener against West Seattle.

Alice Russell scored on a two-foot bank shot just 10 seconds into the game. Smothering Spartan full-court pressure forced a quick turnover, then Russell converted an inbounds pass into a basket and a free throw at the 7:40 mark.

She added five more points in the next minute and a half, as the overmatched Indians committed another three turnovers.

The rest of the quarter continued in the same vein as the Spartans continually forced turnovers or stole the ball for easy layins.

When the buzzer sounded at the end of the initial eight minute span, Bainbridge had scored a school-record 36 points –Courtney Kimball’s three-point play with less than five seconds remaining broke the old mark of 34 – and held the visitors scoreless, tying a school record.

Even with coach Penny Gienger calling off the press for the remainder of the game and the frenzied scoring pace slowing down, the Spartans still won 87-21, coming within five points of the school all-time single-game mark.

“I was surprised,” said Gienger. “I thought they (West Seattle) would be better than that.”

The remote possibility of a Spartan shutout ended when West Seattle finally got on the board with just over three minutes remaining in the first half to make the score 44-3.

The half ended with the Spartans on top, 52-6. At that point, three Spartans were already in double figures. Morgan Zajonc had 14, including a buzzer-beater with one second showing. Christine Schwager had a dozen and Russell 10.

The scoring pace slowed even more in the third quarter as the Spartans tallied just 13.

West Seattle finally got into double figures at the 1:23 mark as an unusual four-point play -- an Indian sank a three-point shot and was fouled -- made the third quarter score 65-12.

Russell accounted for the first six points of the final quarter, sinking a five-foot jumper at 7:46, then feeding Natalie Berry and Fab Rezayat for easy hoops.

Haley Wiggins scored all five of her points in a 1:44 span late in the quarter on a free throw and two steals for layins.

Lee Maloney scored the game’s final points with just under four seconds on the clock.

“I think we’ll be all right,” said Gienger, who seemed a little in awe of her team’s performance. “We got some confidence from winning like this.”

Zajonc echoed the theme. The game’s high scorer with 20 points on 10 of 13 shooting, the sophomore said, “Last year as a freshman I felt like I was learning the system. Now I feel a lot more confident.”

Every Spartan scored. Russell finished with 17 after her fast start, while Schwager and Kimball each added 12. Maloney had nine, Wiggins five, Tiana Gallagher and Berry both had four, while Fab Rezayat and Toren Johnson each had two.

Kimball had seven steals, while Rezayat had four assists. Russell, Berry and Schwager all had five boards.

The team plays at Nathan Hale tonight and hosts Chief Sealth on Friday.

JV and C teams

Bainbridge JVs 29, West Seattle JVs 28 – The Spartans, leading by five points with a minute and a half remaining, gave up two baskets to the visitors but held on to win their season opener.

“We got our opening game jitters out of the way and came away with the win,” said coach Wendy Clark. “We’ll get better fast.”

Angela Keller led the team with 10 points, including four for four from the free throw line. Tucker Huget and Britt Thomas both added six.

Bainbridge “C” 35, West Seattle “C” 27 – When coach Kelly Beemer woke up on Friday before her team’s season opener, she was so hoarse she could barely speak.

Because two of her players hadn’t accumulated enough practices, she could only take seven girls to the Indians’ gym. Her all-freshman team was jittery. And West Seattle threw a full-court pressure defense at the Spartans, who hadn’t been able to prepare for it because there were just nine girls on the roster.

So it wasn’t surprising that the Spartans only scored three points in the first quarter. But Beemer was doing some serious coaching on the fly, instructing her team on the fine art of beating the press. So five different players scored in the second quarter and the team gave up just two points as Bainbridge took a 15-8 halftime lead.

Sarah Scott scored eight of her 10 points in the third quarter as the Spartans held onto the lead at 27-21. And Amanda Szarzynski’s game-high 14 points were instrumental in the final score.

“It was really exciting,” said Beemer of her first lifetime coaching win. “I wish I could have yelled more. But I kept jumping up and down and did a lot of pointing.”

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