Bainbridge tames Cougs, runs mark to 11-0/Sparts, O’Dea go to the wire

Megan Burris fights her way to the rim after collecting an offensive rebound  and looks for an open teammate in the paint during recent Spartan basketball action. Burris calls the Spartans’ team effort at midseason “amazing.”  - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
Megan Burris fights her way to the rim after collecting an offensive rebound and looks for an open teammate in the paint during recent Spartan basketball action. Burris calls the Spartans’ team effort at midseason “amazing.”
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

The Spartans have ‘so much confidence in ourselves, it’s crazy.’

It took a half to get going, but the Bainbridge girls basketball team earned their 11th straight win, defeating Holy Names 51-31 on the road Wednesday.

“We made some pretty good plays,” head coach Penny Gienger said. “It was a close game, but we gradually pulled away.”

The Cougars kept with the Spartans in the first half, with Bainbridge up by only two at halftime.

But they turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, holding Holy Names to just eight points while the Spartan offense did their part.

Brittany Gray scored eight of her 19 points in the fourth quarter, as Bainbridge put 26 on the board in the second half.

Gienger said one of the keys for the rest of the season is to change the offense around to make up for an opponent’s defense on their best players.

“I thought Holy Names tried to take away Brittany and Allie (Picha) and (Kaitlin) Bailey had our first eight points and Megan (Burris) stepped up, (plus Caitlyn) Salo has been steady all season,” she said.

“We have people coming in from the bench that can do stuff, so I’m pretty pleased.”

And that deep bench has helped the Spartans to their spectacular start, which thrills Burris and the rest of the team to no end.

“It’s so amazing,” she said. “We have so much confidence in ourselves it’s crazy. It’s not individuals that’s doing it, but we all support each other.”

If Bainbridge can defeat Bishop Blanchet (they played last night) their confidence will be at its peak for Wednesday’s matchup with Chief Sealth, last year’s state champ and this year’s number one 3A ranked team and undefeated at press time as well.

Gienger won’t put too much pressure on her team.

“To me, it’s not as big a game as the Blanchet and the Holy Names (contests). I think they’re bigger and more important,” she said. “But the Chief Sealth game will give us an idea of, if they’re number one in the state, then where are we?

“If they’re number one and we want to be one of the top contenders in the state, then we have to see where we are.”

Burris said the Spartans will play their game and not think about who the Seahawks are, but they’ll also battle for everything they’ve got.

“We fight,” she said. “If we’re down, we’ll fight till the end. We’re always pushing.”

After their road contest against Sealth, Bainbridge (7-0, 11-0) returns home to host West Seattle. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.

Sparts, O’Dea go to the wire

If Bainbridge played the way it did against O’Dea a few years ago, it could be called a moral victory.

But Tuesday’s 52-49 loss to the Fighting Irish, snapping a five-game winning streak, was viewed as a major dissapointment.

“We weren’t happy in the locker room (after the game),” head coach Scott Orness said. “We felt we were a better team and we went in there expecting to win, and we didn’t.

“People were hanging their heads after the game.”

The Spartans had a tough go with the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish as they took advantage of Bainbridge’s zone to find open shots. Junior guard Chris Banchero did the most damage, scoring 18 points in the first half.

“O’Dea did a fantastic job of executing, both offensively and defensively,” Orness said.

But Bain­bridge was only down by four at halftime, and neither team led by more than that amount in the second half.

The game was tied at 47 in the fourth quarter when O’Dea junior guard Jamelle McMillan scored on a lay-up and was fouled, sending him to the line to complete the three point play.

He scored nine in the quarter.

After Caleb Davis hit two free throws to close the gap to one, O’Dea ran the clock down from two minutes to 26.8 seconds, effectively sealing the win as Banchero was fouled and promptly hit his foul shots.

Orness said they wanted to foul with 45 seconds left, but took too long.

“We played it like we wanted to at the end,” Orness said.

“We have enough faith in our defense that we’re not going to foul with two minutes to go only down by one.”

Senior forward Theo Miller, who played in his first game since knee surgery, said there were things that he and the team could have done better.

“O’Dea got open layins because we weren’t running our offensive sets well, and we weren’t getting back on defense enough,” he said. “We got a little sloppy out there.”

However, Miller felt they can work on their game and get better in the coming weeks.

“Everyone has a high basketball IQ,” he said. “We learn quickly and coach Orness knows what to do to teach us to get quicker on the court.”

And Orness feels this close loss will motivate them through the season.

“We played right with them,” he said. “I think this game, even though it was a loss, it’s going to help us in the long run.”

Gray finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Miller scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds.

Bainbridge (4-3, 8-3) played Bishop Blanchet yesterday. The Spartans travel to Chief Sealth next Tuesday, then return home to face West Seattle at 6:15 p.m. Friday.

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