Gibler strong as Spartans subdue Hale

Coby Gibler times his jump beneath a pair of Nathan Hale defenders in Tuesday’s home win over the Raiders. - JIM BRYANT photo
Coby Gibler times his jump beneath a pair of Nathan Hale defenders in Tuesday’s home win over the Raiders.
— image credit: JIM BRYANT photo

The sophomore center dominated the paint, swatting nine blocked shots.

On the basketball court, height makes right.

As one of two six-foot-sixers on the Spartan varsity roster, Coby Gibler has it in spades. And the sophomore center came up huge for the home team Tuesday evening, swatting nine blocked shots and hitting double figures on the boards.

Bainbridge rode the effort to stymie visiting Nathan Hale by a 56-38 count.

“Coby Gibler took care of the paint for us and made it very difficult to get shots off around the basket,” coach Scott Orness said.

Gibler was dominant throughout the second quarter, powering the Spartans from a 14-10 edge to a 28-16 halftime advantage and effectively deflating the Raiders for the rest of the contest.

He began the frame by driving the baseline for an inside bucket and drawing a foul, completing the three-point play from the line.

A smothering Spartan defense forced a turnover, and Cody Bludorn kissed a trey off the glass at the other end.

Gibler scored at the glass again on the next possession off a Grant Leslie assist, then John Bruns fired up the crowd with a trey of his own. Theo Miller joined the action underneath, using perfect English on a shot high off the glass.

Two Gibler blocks cemented the run during fierce action in the paint in the waning moments of the half.

The superior defensive display showed up in the box score, with the Raiders shooting just 24 percent for the game.

Orness said the team is finding its footing after most of the lineup went down at one time or another with maladies ranging from flu to ankle sprains to a tailbone bruise that waylaid Miller for a spell.

“We have had a rough beginning of January and have been battling injuries and kids getting sick,” Orness said. “We are close to being healthy again and it showed on the court Tuesday.”

Miller was a dominant offensive force Tuesday, with 15 points to go with eight rebounds, while Leslie finished the game with 12 points, eight assists and five steals. Gibler added eight points to go with 10 rebounds and nine blocks.

The team traveled to West Seattle yesterday evening, and travels to Key Arena for a non-conference game against North Kitsap at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

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