BHS girls still rule division despite loss

On the night when Brittany Gray broke the all-time school record for career free throws, it was particularly fitting that her two free throws with 17 seconds remaining gave the Bainbridge girls’ basketball team a 45-43 win over visiting Holy Names last Friday in a matchup of teams tied for fifth in the AP 3A rankings.

Though the Spartans suffered their first Metro League loss on Wednesday, falling 55-40 to Lakeside on the Lions’ home court, they remain firmly in control of the Metro League’s Sound Division. The Spartans are still very much in contention for the league’s overall best record with a 7-1 mark. They face their final significant Metro opposition next Wednesday when they host ninth-ranked Franklin. They will be heavy favorites to win their five remaining league games after Franklin.

For much of the Holy Names game, neither team appeared deserving of its lofty ranking. The Spartans were just five of 27 (19 percent) in the first half, which ended with the Cougars leading 22-17. Holy Names extended their margin to 28-19 three minutes into the third quarter. But Gray knocked down three shots in a span of less than a minute to get the Spartans back in the game and they tied it at 32 when Kirsten Michael fed Morgan Muniz for a layin.

Though the Cougars quickly regained the lead and were up 39-34 early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans responded once again with an 8-2 run and took a 42-41 lead with three minutes remaining. The teams remained scoreless until Jesse Vincent’s free throw with 40 seconds remaining gave the Spartans a two-point edge. The Cougars tied the score at the 26-second mark. Nine seconds later Gray was fouled and calmly drained both of her attempts from the charity stripe.

A quick Spartan foul as Holy Names rushed the ball downcourt gave the Cougars a 1-and-1 opportunity. They missed. In the melee under the basket, the Spartans committed another foul. Again the Cougars missed the free throw, and Gray pulled down the rebound. A Cougar foul on the ensuing pass gave Bainbridge a chance to ice the game, but two missed free throws with 4.2 seconds left gave Holy Names one final chance. Hannah DePew picked off a hurried Cougar pass to seal the win.

Gray had 21 points and 13 rebounds. Vincent added nine points and Anna Wood seven.

In the second quarter, Gray broke the BHS free throw record of 294, set by Christina Marshall (1985-1989). She added five more to finish with an even 300 as she continues her assault on the Spartan record book.

Things weren’t much easier the night before as the Spartans dodged a bullet against co-Valley Division-leading Nathan Hale, pulling out a 50-47 win. The Spartans had an 11-point lead midway through the third quarter but the Raiders went on a 16-2 run to take a 35-34 lead.

The Spartans regained the lead early in the fourth quarter and led by six with 45 seconds remaining following a Hale intentional foul. The Raiders quickly cut the margin to two, but a pair of Gray free throws with 18 seconds gave the Spartans some breathing room. A Hale player was fouled on a three-point attempt with 2.9 seconds left created some anxious moments, but she sank one of three and the clock ran out after her second miss.

With Gray having an off-night shooting even though she scored 21 points, Anna Wood and Kirsten Michael stepped. Wood had 13 points along with 13 boards, while all of Michael’s 9 points came at particularly opportune moments. She also had five assists and five rebounds and played a solid floor game.

Against Lakeside, the Spartans trailed 26-16 at halftime and 41-24 after three quarters. Michael and Wood scored 12 each, while Gray was held to 10, her second-lowest output of the season.

The Spartans host Kingston tonight in a non-league matchup, then travel to Ingraham tomorrow in a game originally scheduled for mid-December.

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