Sports Roundup -- Prep shuts down Spartans

Theo Miller skies for a rebound against Seattle Prep’s CJ Cullen. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Theo Miller skies for a rebound against Seattle Prep’s CJ Cullen.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

Prep shuts down Spartans

The last time 10th ranked Bainbridge and sixth ranked Seattle Prep locked up, the Spartans suffered one of their worst shooting nights of the season, going 15 for 71 from the floor.

Friday, the results weren’t much better, as the Panthers held the Spartans to just 20 made shots, beating them at home 59-47 for their first loss at home all season.

Bainbridge guard Chris Kelly said that Prep is a team “that we never shoot well against.”

“It really puts the bitter taste in your mouth,” he said.

Prep keyed on junior point guard Steven Gray from the get-go, harassing him with guards Jordan Wheeler and Jordan Bremond every time Gray touched the ball, and keeping him from breaking out at any time.

Gray scored just 16 points on 6 for 26 shooting.

“That’s how they play,” he said. “They play in your face, and we tried the best we could to come in prepared for that, but it’s completely different once you get in the game.”

Coby Gibler got the Spartans started in the first, but Wheeler, Bremond and center Spencer Hawes – all 7 feet of him – got the Panthers the lead, exploiting the Spartans’ zone defense. Gray’s only points came on a coast-to-coast finger roll.

Bainbridge got back into it in the second quarter with an 11-2 run. John Bruns got the offense rolling with a three, while Nick Fling scored and Gibler had three points.

Prep kept the lead, but Gibler and Theo Miller scored to keep Bainbridge down by only three at halftime.

“Offensively, you can’t do anything about the (missed) shots,” Kelly said. “But I think we executed well in the second and third quarters.”

It was early in the third when Gray got hot, scoring on two drives to the basket and hitting a three to tie the game at 32.

Prep countered with a 6-0 run to end the third, then scored six straight points to open the fourth.

Gray scored a three and Wood scored to pull the Spartans within eight at 4:03, but that was it.

The Panthers turned up the pressure, forcing Gray to turn the ball over several times and denying the Spartans from getting an open look at the basket.

“I felt good about what we did defensively,” head coach Scott Orness said.

“They’re a good defensive team and they take you out of what you try to do. We had a hard time running our sets, and the game showed us we need to get better at execution.”

Kelly felt they did a good job in not letting Hawes dominate the paint, but said there were too many mistakes made down the stretch.

“Sometimes we throw the ball away, sometimes the shots don’t fall, sometimes it’s bad shots,” he said. “It’s fine tuning the things that we do and once we get it figured out, we’ll get a blowout going the other way.”

Gray agreed.

“We were right there and we let it slip away,” he said. “I don’t think we were really in it as much as they were. They just wanted it more.”

With the loss, the Spartans will need some help to get back into the top two spots in the Mountain Division with four games to go.

If they hold onto third place – Eastside Catholic is two games behind – they’ll host a playoff game Feb. 8. That game will determine seeding for the Metro tournament against the fourth-place team in the Sound Division, currently Ingraham.

Orness feels the Spartans will get it done if they keep at it.

“I can’t say anything but great things about our effort tonight,” he said. “(We) played all the way to the buzzer. You can’t ask for more from a group of young men.”

Bainbridge (8-4 league, 12-4 overall) played at Eastside Catholic yesterday. They play at Lakeside Friday, then return home for their final game against O’Dea on Jan. 31. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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