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Basketball: Bainbridge confident going into hoops playoffs
Even though the Spartan boys won’t know until next week who they’ll face in the Metro League playoffs, their 50-48 win over West Seattle Tuesday set a positive tone for the post-season.
“It prepares you for what’s ahead,” head coach Steve Henderson said. “In the playoffs you’re not going to blow anybody out. That’s what’s kind of nice about our squad. We struggled most of the game and there was never any indication of panic whatsoever. They’d been there before and that’s what’s nice about that leadership with seven seniors.”
The Spartans improved to 9-5 with the win and played at 10th-ranked Chief Sealth Thursday.
Bainbridge will graduate leading scorers Will DiIorio and Ryan Burris, point guard Jimmy Baggett, guard David Korsak and forwards John Masla, James Coatsworth and Michael Stevenson.
“This is one of those classes that in 30 years we’ll still be talking about them,” Henderson said. “They’re phenomenal people – that’s the thing. They’re pretty good at basketball, but they’re even better people. That’s what makes my job really fun is being around people like that. The leadership is so good for our younger kids.”
The leadership and experience made the difference in the fourth quarter against West Seattle.
Despite going a combined zero-for-four from behind the arc until the last minute of regulation, Burris and DiIorio made their three-point shots when it counted.
With a minute to go in the fourth quarter, Burris drained a three to put the Spartans ahead of West Seattle 47-46.
West Seattle answered on the next play, making a lay-up with 29 seconds remaining to take a 48-47 lead.
On Bainbridge’s next possession, DiIorio made his only three of the night from the top of the arc, giving the Spartans the 50-48 lead.
With 16.9 seconds to go, West Seattle didn’t convert on its final possession, missing a three-pointer from the baseline and sealing the Spartans’ 50-48 Senior Night victory.
DiIorio had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Burris finished the night with 11 points and six rebounds.
“Ryan and Will – if they’re going to make the big shot – they’re the guys you want shooting them,” Henderson said. “It’s nice when both seniors and your top two scorers come up huge for you in the fourth quarter.”
DiIorio, who averages 18.7 points per game, is the Metro’s third leading scorer.
“He’s receiving a lot of Division I interest but no one’s made an offer,” Henderson said.
While the Spartans won’t know their playoff opponent until Tuesday night, they are guaranteed home-court advantage.
“Our fans and being a home help a lot,” DiIorio said.
For Bainbridge senior Kas Totura, Tuesday’s victory over West Seattle will be a game she’ll never forget.
Tied 42-42 with 5.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Spartans called a timeout to set up one last play.
“We needed a shot,” Totura said. “I was the third option for the three-pointer. Hannah (Depew) was supposed to get the lay-in, or Grace (Kenyon) was supposed to get a post-up for the lay-in. (Head coach Terry Lande) actually wanted me to take it to the hole for a lay-in.”
But when the ball came to Totura, who is known for her jump shot, she sank her third three-pointer of the night for the 45-42 victory.
“I’ve never made it at the last second,” Totura said. “It was Senior Night – I had to make it.”
All three of Bainbridge’s seniors had productive home-court finales. Mallory Farrar shot four-of-six from the floor with nine points while Rebecca Sharar had seven rebounds – five of them offensive – two steals and three points.
“It resembles the way we want to look in the future,” Lande said of the Spartans’ execution. “Every kid understands the angles that you run in the spacing in an offense. That’s taken three four months of practicing, but it’s starting to click.”
With the win, the Spartans went into Thursday night’s road game against Chief Sealth boasting a 7-7 league record and a four-game win streak.
“It’s nice to have a young team,” Totura said. “Most of us didn’t play last year on varsity. It’s nice going in as an underdog and as a Sound Division champion.”
In his first year at the helm of the girls basketball program, Lande encouraged the seniors to lead, even though none of them had much varisty experience.
“I’m a big believer in that the seniors have to take ownership of the program, so I attempted this year to thrust the program on top of three seniors,” he said. “It was a huge challenge for them.”
Totura leads the Spartans in scoring with 8.7 per game, while Sharar averages 7.6 a game.
“Rebecca has become the epitome of what we hope to have in the program,” Lande said. “You look at her numbers, and you can see her growth.”
Farrar, who didn’t play basketball as a junior, has made huge strides on offense, Lande said.
“You put in your four years and you own the program and you’re a reflection to the program,” he said of the seniors. “I think at times it was a lot of weight for them to carry, and you see positive results.”
The team had six or seven different high scorers this season.
“We don’t have to rely on one person,” Totura said. “I was leading, Hannah was leading, and Rebecca had two awesome games the last couple weeks. It’s really evened out because (Lande’s) trying to bring it up with the younger kids. The whole team is getting in on it.”
The Spartans, who clinched the Sound Division title last week, are the fourth seed in the playoffs and will face top-seeded and second-ranked Holy Names Wednesday on the road.
“We’re hoping to end the season on a strong note,” Totura said. “We’ve won our last four games and we’re hoping to go out on a strong bang. Hopefully we’ll have a game like (Bishop) Blanchet when we come out and we’re strong.”