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High hopes on the hardwood
With five returning starters and a flashy incoming freshman, the Spartan girls look toward a fine season.
The Bainbridge girls basketball team is ready to play other teams, as theyre sick of playing each other.
Were ready to beat up on some people, head coach Penny Gienger said. Its getting to that point.
And the Spartans should get it done in Metro League play, bringing a talented squad ready to compete for a state title in the 2005-06 prep basketball season.
Last year, Bainbridge went 14-9 and made it to the district tournament. This year, they are ranked ninth in the Seattle Times preseason poll.
Theyve justified that ranking, losing just two players, Jocelyn Moody and Angela Keller, while returning 10, including all of last years starters.
Those big five senior guard Kaitlin Bailey, senior guard/forward Allie Picha, junior center Megan Burris, junior forward Jacqui Menalia and junior guard Caitlyn Salo have benefited from years of involvement in the Spartan program and are ready to make some noise.
Salo led the team in three-point shooting and field goal percentage last year with 31.4 and 44.9 percent, respectively.
Picha was the top free throw shooter, sinking 68 percent of her shots, and was the teams leading scorer, averaging 15 points a game.
Most people know the system pretty well, and weve been doing it since seventh grade, said Bailey, a team co-captain. I think were well ahead of where we normally are for practices because weve been doing summer stuff.
Picha, also a co-captain, credits the summer program for getting players ready for the season.
Were excited, she said. Weve been waiting for this for a long time.
Bailey, along with Salo, Picha and Burris will make up a tentative starting four.
The fifth starter will be the lone newcomer, freshman Brittany Gray. The 5-11 forward, who along with her brother Steven transferred from Chimacum to BHS over the summer, is thought of highly by Gienger.
Shes a very good offensive player,
Gienger said. Shes still got a lot to learn, so youre going to have a few mistakes, but to me, her abilities are worth the mistakes.
Picha, a four-year varsity starter, also raves about Gray.
Brittany is huge, she said. She brings an immense amount of talent and finesse and just pure athleticism.
Gray said she is nervous, but excited about her upcoming time at the varsity level.
I think Ill do pretty good out there, she said. As a team, I think well do well on the court.
Gienger also likes the teams size, speed, experience and depth.
Available off the bench are junior guard Julia Weese, senior forward and co-captain Kari Pierce, junior guard Lindsey Bratonia, junior guard Angela Failla, Menalia and sophomore guard Emily Farrar, all of whom have varsity experience.
Weve definitely improved over the year, Gienger said. My team took their lumps early, but we turned it around in the end. A lot of them worked hard over the summer.
Gienger also feels confident about her squads abilities, but she said they still need to work on their passing and putting it all together as a team.
Were just going to have to get to where were working at as a group of one, she said. Right now were not working together as well, but its going to take some time.
I feel were further along now than we ever were than in the beginning of last season. Weve just got to keep getting better and better.
The Spartans will need to keep improving, as they face off against last years state champion and this years favorite in Metro League play. Bishop Blanchet, Rainier Beach and Seattle Prep will be tough squads to deal with as well.
But the Spartans wont be pushovers, and Picha is confident in her teams chances. The Spartans are particularly deep under the basket.
We have four extremely strong posts, whereas most teams have one or two, Picha said. They say this is the year for as long as I can remember, and we all know that in the back of our heads, so well do our best.
Bainbridge starts the season tonight when they travel to Cleveland High School. The Spartans play at Rainier Beach on Friday and at North Kitsap on Saturday.
Home play opens at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 against Ingraham at Paski Gym.
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Spartan girls hoops
Wed., Nov. 30: @ Cleveland - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 2: @ Rainier Beach - 6:15 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 3: @ North Kitsap - 7 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 7: Ingraham - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 9: @ Seattle Prep - 8 p.m.
Mon, Dec. 12: South Kitsap - 7 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 13: Eastside Catholic - 6:15 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 15: Lakeside - 8 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 27: White River Tournament
Wed., Dec. 28: White River Tournament
Wed., Jan. 4: @ Holy Names - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 6: Bishop Blanchet - 6:15 p.m.
Wed., Jan 11: @ Chief Sealth - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan 13: West Seattle - 8 p.m.
Wed., Jan 18: @ Nathan Hale - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan 20th: Seattle Prep - 6:15 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 25: @ Eastside Catholic - 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 27: @ Lakeside - 8 p.m.
Tues., Jan. 31: Holy Names - 6:15 p.m.
Thurs. Feb. 2: @ Bishop Blanchet - 8 p.m.
Feb. 6-11: Metro League Tournament