Spartans claim White River tourney crown

Allie Picha and the rest of the Bainbridge girls basketball team are having a ball this year.

“I’ve never had so much fun in a basketball season than I am right now,” the senior forward said. “We’re having an absolute blast. It’s fun to go to practice, it’s fun to go to games. Everyone is happy, everyone is giving it their all. It’s really exciting.”

The Spartans, now ranked third in the state, continued their fun run by defeating Yelm 71-39 on Tuesday, then beating sixth-ranked White River 54-44 a day later to claim tournament honors in the White River Christmas Classic.

The victory put the Spartans at 10-0 on the season.

Bainbridge broke open a tight tournament finale by scoring 21 in the third quarter, equaling their scoring output in the whole first half.

“They came out and played great basketball,” head coach Penny Gienger said. “They picked them apart, and (White River) didn’t score.”

Picha led all scorers in the game with 18 points and contributed 11 rebounds.

Caitlyn Salo scored 14 points and Brittany Gray had 11 points. Megan Burris contributed with 12 rebounds.

Salo felt the game had a state-tournament feel to it.

“We knew White River was going to be tough,” Salo said. “It was intense, it was noisy, both teams were aggressive. There were lots of fouls called.”

Gienger said she slowed her team down too soon in the fourth quarter.

“(White River) started to press,” she said. “We didn’t make a whole lot of foul shots, either. I called a timeout to tell them to attack their press, and they got a layup and broke their run.”

Picha felt the Spartans “didn’t play to our potential in the least bit” against the Hornets.

“That’s the exciting part, is that we can still beat the sixth-ranked team in the state,” she said. “We have so much more to do.”

Against Yelm, Salo led the Spartans with 14 points, while Lindsey Bratonia, Kaitlin Bailey and Gray had 10 points apiece.

Bainbridge travels to Holy Names next Wednesday, with game time at 6:15 p.m.

They return home to host Bishop Blanchet at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Paski Gymnasium. The evening is a quadruple-header with both boys and girls JV and varsity play.

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