Spartans down NK in Key matchup

Chris Kelly goes to the rack in the Spartans’ varsity basketball game against North Kitsap Monday afternoon at Key Arena in Seattle, a 66-44 win for Bainbridge. - JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo
Chris Kelly goes to the rack in the Spartans’ varsity basketball game against North Kitsap Monday afternoon at Key Arena in Seattle, a 66-44 win for Bainbridge.
— image credit: JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo

Gray paces Bainbridge with 29 points on the Sonics’ court.

SEATTLE – A rivalry is still a rivalry no matter where the game is played.

The Bainbridge boys basketball team crossed the sound instead of the bridge and defeated the North Kitsap Vikings 64-44 at the Key Arena in Seattle on Monday.

Steven Gray led the Spartans with 29 points, shooting 6 for 7 in the second half for 14 points.

“It’s not easy to shoot the ball with no backdrop, but I thought he did a real nice job,” head coach Scott Orness said.

It took a few minutes for both teams to get comfortable. Chris Kelly got it moving for Bainbridge by scoring four points on a jumper and going even on foul shots.

After Viking guard Chris Zeringer hit a three, John Bruns countered with a three of his own, breaking the Spartans out of their mini-slump. Gray led the rest of the way, scoring eight in the quarter to put Bainbridge in a comfortable position.

In the second, North Kitsap kept hanging around as Eric Schippers, Steven Kirk and Kevin Masnayon chipped away at the lead, taking it down to seven at the half.

Gray scored seven, but Charlie Fick was the only other Spartan to contribute on the offensive side.

Gray said the team was looking at the scoreboard too much.

“We saw that we were up 10 to 12 (points) and we were going to cruise from there, but they came back and played hard,” he said. “Coach said (at halftime) it’s going to be a game, and we need to take care of business.”

They did just that, as Gray and Coby Gibler combined for the first eight points of the third quarter to put the Spartans up 38-23. Gray scored on two jumpers, while Gibler went inside as the Spartans utilized their passing game to the fullest.

Fick and Caleb Davis added some points in the paint while John Bruns hit two three pointers to blow the game wide open.

“We were settling for 15- to 17- footers (jump shots) rather than attacking the basket and getting the ball inside,” Orness said. “So our focus in the third quarter was to go after them because they were playing a pretty relaxed zone, and it’s easy to shoot the ball like that when they’re off you, so you’ve got to create contact and get to the basket. I thought they did a great job of that.”

He also liked how his team handled themselves in a neutral site – Key Arena – and against a rival.

“I feel like we always play hard,” he said. “We don’t always play super-smart, but we’re getting better and better every day, and I’m real pleased with the way we played.”

The Spartans play Dec. 28 at Olympic, then host Clover Park Dec. 30 at 5 p.m.

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