Spartans open play tonight

Caitlyn Salo guards assistant coach Zach Peach. - Jim Bryant photo
Caitlyn Salo guards assistant coach Zach Peach.
— image credit: Jim Bryant photo

The girls host Cleveland as the new campaign gets under way.

Expect a quick step this year from the Spartan girls’ varsity basketball team.

“One thing we have this year is speed, and we’ll change the offense to accommodate that,” said Bainbridge girls basketball coach Penny Gienger, who graduated all but one of her starters from last year’s 15-5 team.

Returning from a successful season in which the Spartans took home the fourth place trophy at the state tournament, Gienger will build on the match-up defense of last year and use the current roster’s speed to create scoring.

The rebuilding faces challenges from the top teams in the Metro League.

“Chief Sealth got better with the addition of a transfer guard,” Gienger said. “Rainier Beach kept everyone. Both will be top contenders.”

Bainbridge opens at 7:30 p.m. this evening against Cleveland, last year’s Metro title winners, with the junior varsity tipping off at 5:45.

The next two Friday nights feature Rainier Beach and Seattle Prep, which will provide the team with a measure of where they stand against the best.

“If we win or lose close, we will know we can play with anybody,” Gienger said. “If we lose big, we will know how far we have to go to get there.”

The match-up defense, implemented to great effect last year, was one of the reasons the Spartans went so deep at state.

Last year, park district Director Terry Lande was the key architect of the defense that traps the other team, creating scoring opportunities from turnovers. Gienger will direct both the defense and offense this year.

“Unfortunately, Terry will not be available to coach it this year,” she said. “So I’ll pick it up.”

With four returning varsity players, and Lande a phone call away, Gienger expects the defensive aspect to be sharp. “We’ll make adjustments as need be.”

To be determined is where the scoring will come from.

Juniors Kaitlyn Bailey and Allie Picha will provide the leadership on the floor.

Projected to start are seniors Angela Keller at center and Jocelyn Moody at forward. Sophomore Caitlyn Salo runs point, with Bailey at the two guard and Picha at the guard/forward where she’ll help out down low.

First off the bench will be Jacquie Menalia at forward, Megan Burris the six-foot sophomore center.

Expected to see plenty of playing time are sophomores Julia Weese, Lindsey Bratonia and Angela Failla.

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