Spartans take on top-ranked Rainier Beach

The Spartan student section reacts to last year’s dramatic victory over Rainier Beach 55-52. - Brad Camp
The Spartan student section reacts to last year’s dramatic victory over Rainier Beach 55-52.
— image credit: Brad Camp

While the boys basketball team has defeated its last three opponents by at least 10 points, the Spartans will face a new level of competition when they host top-ranked Rainier Beach at 8 p.m. Friday.

“We definitely have our hands full,” head coach Steve Henderson said. “They’re ranked No. 1 for a reason. It’s always a challenge when you’re playing those guys. The speed picks up immensely and it’s a whole different game. Hopefully we’ll be ready.”

Bainbridge (1-0 in the Metro, 3-0 overall) must contend with Vikings’ (1-0 in the Metro) first-team all-Metro guard Jamon Echols, and forward Lonnie Pearson.

The teams’ last two meetings were polar opposites. The Spartans suffered a lopsided 84-39 loss to the Vikings on the road early in the season, but evened the series at home with a 55-52 overtime victory in February, giving Bainbridge a share of the Metro Sound division title.

“That helps, definitely,” Henderson said of the Spartans’ home-court advantage. “I know last year we went to their place early, and it turned into a rout.”

The Rainier Beach game also has playoff implications. The top team from the Metro Sound division — which includes Bainbridge, Rainier Beach, West Seattle and Chief Sealth — is guaranteed a first-round bye in the Metro playoffs. Bainbridge plays each division opponent twice, and all other Metro League teams once.

Bainbridge notched its first Metro win over Eastside Catholic Tuesday.

The Spartans, who shot 30 percent from the field, were buoyed by senior guard Will DiIorio’s 27-point, nine-rebound performance.

“He was dominant,” Henderson said. “He carried us all game long.”

The Spartans led the Crusaders 26-24 at the half.

“We just struggled to shoot the ball all night,” head Henderson said. “On those nights you just hope your defense is good enough to pull you through. You shoot 30 percent, you don’t expect to win.”

The Spartans maintained their two-point advantage to close out the third, but Bainbridge pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Eastside Catholic 17-7 and coming away with a 54-42 victory.

“We kind of tightened up defensively,” Henderson said. “We picked up the pace defensively and we were able to execute.”

Girls team defeated in league opener

Playing their third straight road game, the Bainbridge girls fell to Eastside Catholic 46-39 Wednesday.

“All three teams are playing full-court trapping zones against us,” head coach Terry Lande said. “You lose your mental sharpness.”

The Spartans (0-1 in the Metro, 1-3 overall), led 12-7 at the end of the first quarter, but lost key defender Micki Johns to a sprained ankle in the second quarter.

“She was playing great interior,” Lande said. “No one was getting the basket defense, and with her out we lost that part of the defense.”

The Spartans were outscored 13-7 in the second, and trailed by three at the half.

Bainbridge sprinted to a 33-26 lead in the third, but turnovers and foul trouble plagued the Spartans in the fourth quarter, allowing the Crusaders (1-1 in the Metro, 2-1 overall) to go on a 20-6 fourth-quarter run.

“We just mistimed our runs,” Lande said. “They got their run the last four minutes and we had our run in the first and third quarters.”

The Spartans will play their fourth game in seven days when they face Rainier Beach (0-1 in the Metro) at 6:15 p.m. Friday.

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