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Nick Fling brings the ball upcourt against the Rams in boys play the following evening, a dramatic 67-66 Bainbridge win. - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
Nick Fling brings the ball upcourt against the Rams in boys play the following evening, a dramatic 67-66 Bainbridge win.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

Chris Kelly comes up big for the Spartans, nailing the game winner.

Before the tipoff, Chris Kelly asked some fans at courtside, “Are you ready to get your $5 worth?”

They got that and a whole lot more Wednesday, as the senior guard hit a bank shot with seconds remaining to put the Bainbridge boys basketball team past Ingraham 67-66 in a thrilling first round Metro tournament game.

Kelly was the third option on the winning play.

“We were trying to get the ball inside to Coby (Gibler) to start with and we’d hope they would switch on the screen and we’d have a mismatch,” coach Scott Orness said. “Then we were hoping to get Nick Fling off the screen but that broke down, so Chris had the ball in his hands and made a good offensive move and he throws it up there, and all you can do is say a little prayer.”

Kelly said after the set play failed, he just ended up with the ball in his hands.

“We just had to go with it,” he said.

The Rams hung with the Spartans through the first quarter despite Steven Gray’s hot hand, as he had 10 points in the quarter, including two three pointers. John Bruns hit two three pointers as well.

Ingraham made some runs in the second to close the gap within five, but Kelly scored four points and Gray added a one-hand dunk on a fast break to push the Spartan lead to 10 at halftime.

It was the same story in the third, as Bain­bridge held the lead despite the outside play of Rams wingman Isaac Jimcoily III, who scored six in the quarter, and Robert Ramirez, who had two three pointers.

Spartan senior Theo Miller scored nine in the period and registered an assist on a nice pass to Austin Wood for the reverse lay-up.

The fourth was a whole different story. Ingraham went on a 6-0 run to start the quarter, then after Gray was called for a questionable offensive foul, he was whistled for another foul after coming down with a rebound.

Gray slammed the ball to the court in frustration, earning him a technical foul and sending him to the bench with with five fouls with 4:41 left to play. Ram guard Anthony Garner II hit all four foul shots to close the score to 55-53.

Orness felt the call was a good one.

“Steven’s usually an even-keel guy,” he said. “He’ll have to learn from it. We obviously need him in the ball game.”

With their leading scorer out and Ingraham gaining momentum, the Spartans did all they could to keep the lead.

Nick Fling scored on a three-point play, but Bainbridge went just 5 for 11 on late foul shots.

The Rams stayed with the Spartans until guard Nuk-Chin Douglas, a lefty, threw up a shot from beyond the arc and got the bank with 25 seconds left to give them their first lead of the night.

After the ball was brought up court, the Spartans took another timeout to set up their play. But there was a miscommunication on the court, and Kelly wound up with the ball.

He backed down his defender and put up a 15-foot shot from the top of the key – left-handed – and got a bank of his own to win the game.

A desperation shot by Ingraham from half court failed at the buzzer, and Kelly was mobbed by his teammates and fans in a wild celebration.

“That was Scott’s call. He just felt like going to number 10,” Kelly said jokingly, as fans came by to offer their congratulations.

Despite coming away with the win, Orness felt the Spartans could have played better.

“I didn’t feel like we played a smart basketball game tonight,” he said. “We had some breakdowns on offense, we had some breakdowns on defense, we had some problems matching up with them. There were a couple opportunities we could have played smarter, but I’ll take the ‘W.’”

Kelly agreed that the Spartans will put this one behind them and move on.

“We didn’t play the physical game that we should have that night,” he said. “We need to play for all four quarters. We just can’t play for two and a half. We’re going to be on the receiving end if we don’t.”

Bainbridge plays Bishop Blanchet at 10 a.m. today at Brougham Pavillion on the Seattle Pacific University campus.

The winner becomes the fifth seed to Districts, while the loser takes the sixth seed.

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