Spartans stuff the competition

At Nathan Hale on Tuesday, the boys’ basketball team put together the perfect antidote to their fourth quarter problems the previous weekend, in which North Mason and West Seattle had broken open close games to win by an average of 12 points.

The Spartans opened up a 33-13 halftime lead against the Raiders and extended the margin to 29 points after three quarters en route to a 57-34 win to even their Metro League record at 1-1.

“We had a great practice on Monday,” said coach Scott Orness. “We decided that we needed to focus more on playing together as a team.”

Orness felt that guard Mike Botefuhr had a particularly outstanding game. “He only took five shots, but he made four of them,” Orness said. “He made his teammates better and got the other guys involved.”

Three of Botefuhr’s baskets were three-pointers, as the Spartans overall were six of nine from beyond the arc, a significant improvement over their 11 for 44 shooting in the previous two games.

Henry Guterson also nailed a pair of treys, while Travis Guterson had one.

The improved outside shooting was a by-product of the team’s primary focus.

“Our main goal for the game was to get the ball inside,” Orness said. “We’d pound inside, then go inside-outside for open shots,” he said.

One result of the increased inside pressure was that Teddy Picha had 11 foul shots in the first half, converting nine of them. He finished the game with 22 points.

Botefuhr had 13, the Gutersons both had seven, Spencer Evans added three, Adam Brenneman and Simon Pollack two apiece and Joe Picha one. Schuyler Boone had four rebounds in four minutes.

The team hosted Chief Sealth last night and travels to Ingraham today.

“We take pride in preparing for each game,” Orness said. “So it’s a challenge to hold on and stay focused when we play back-to-back games.”

The Spartans travel to Rainier Beach on Tuesday to take on the pre-season Metro League favorites and last year’s runners-up in the 3A state tournament.

‘C’ team goes 3-0

The boys “C” basketball team ran its record to 3-0 on Tuesday with a 57-39 win over visiting Eastside Catholic.

“The team is improving with each game, especially with rebounding,” said coach Chris White. “We hit the boards hard.”

The Spartans enjoyed a 48-28 overall edge on the boards, and 15 offensive rebounds led to several second- and third-chance hoops.

Logan Best pulled down 11 rebounds, while Eddie Pasquale had 10.

Bainbridge jumped out to a 12-4 lead at the end of the first quarter as guard Grant Leslie scored his team’s first six points on three slashing drives to the basket, then added a final layin moments before the buzzer.

The Spartans kept up the pressure in the second quarter as White began substituting liberally.

David Vander Hoek began and ended the scoring with field goals, and added a steal and layin to account for six points. Zack Tucker Gangnes added four more as Bainbridge held a 26-13 lead at intermission.

The Spartans came out on fire to open the third quarter as they ran off 14 points in just over three minutes after the Crusaders sank the first basket. Eric Baker and Pasquale both had three hoops and after Leslie pulled down a rebound and dribbled the length of the floor for a layin, Eastside Catholic called a timeout with the score now 40-15.

Somewhat over-optimistically, the Crusader coach told his team that “we can still come back,” even though his team, fighting game-long shooting problems, had just six field goals to Bainbridge’s 20.

While the Spartans’ frenetic scoring pace slowed somewhat, the third quarter still ended with the home team up 46-22.

Eastside scored the first six points of the final quarter before Cody Bludorn’s jumper from the foul line with just over three minutes gone got the Spartans back on the board.

The game ended as it had begun, with another Leslie hoop as the freshman led all scorers with 16. Baker added 13 while Vander Hoek and Pasquale both had six.

The team plays Port Angeles today at 2:30 at the Spartan gym.

Nathan Hale JVs 48, Bainbridge JVs 46 – The Raiders broke open a close game that was tied at halftime and after three quarters to take a 10-point lead in the final quarter. But the Spartans battled back, closing to within two points as Adam Knappe dished to Seth Jacobson for a layin with four seconds remaining.

“Then we tried for a steal or a foul on the inbounds play, but we couldn’t get the ref to call a foul,” said coach Keith Kirkwood. “The ball went out of bounds with half a second left and it could have gone either way, but Hale got the ball.”

Kirkwood was pleased with his team’s ability to come back. “We didn’t give up even though we were down,” he said. “We stayed confident and involved.”

He was also pleased that after averaging more than 20 turnovers through their first three games, the Spartans lowered that number to 15.

Pat Fiander led the team with 10 points, Mark Korsak had eight and Joey Picha added seven.

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