The game against Ballard was apparently brought to Spartan sports fans courtesy of the letter F — as in Frustrating.
A critical three-pointer by one lucky Beaver in the final moments seemingly put the game on the course for OT, until the visitors managed to squeak in a few more points before the buzzer Friday, Jan. 11, thus besting the Bainbridge High varsity boys basketball team 44-39 — and handing the Spartans their third straight loss (and their second three-game slump of the year).
The defeat left the island squad with an overall season record of 6-10 (2-9 in conference) and in the bottom spot of the Metro Mountain Division.
It was the second disappointing ending of the night, the girls team having likewise lost earlier.
Things seemed set to go down very differently at first, though the visitors scored first BHS answered quickly and was only slightly behind (13-11) by the start of the second quarter.
At the end of the half BHS led 19-15, and they came back strong enough to stay ahead 33-29 by the start of the final quarter.
It was then when things began to go sideways for the Spartans.
With about three minutes to go the score sat at 35-33 with the island squad up, but things were evened 35-all by the final minute of play.
A Spartan foul and ensuing free throw put the Beavers ahead 36-35 and a slew of last-second scoring kept them ahead 39-37 with about 30 seconds remaining.
But the Spartans were far from beaten. They came back again, tied the score at 39 with about 20 seconds to go, and had all but secured some OT when the aforementioned big three-pointer came at just the right (or wrong, if you were rooting for BHS) time.
Thus ahead 42-39, the Beavers managed a few more points before the end and stayed ahead to secure the win.
Such close climaxes are almost impossible to plan for, said BHS Head Coach Steve Haizlip — besides, obviously, planning to not be in that position, a hope that was dashed early given a less-than-stellar Spartan showing.
“That was not one of our better performances,” Haizlip added. “We executed our sets fine [but] we shot extremely poorly. You would think by the score that we played pretty solid defense. It was a pretty low-scoring game, but both teams were very patient, so the possessions were down in the game, that’s why it’s a low-scoring game.”
Ballard is known to be a patient, strategic opponent, the coach said, a trait this year’s Bainbridge squad, on their good nights, shares.
“Our style is to contain the teams and make them work and we pride ourselves on that,” Haizlip said. “I don’t know if we were ready to play. I don’t know if we came out with the fire that we needed.”
It’s been a rocky road for Bainbridge this year, with the squad typically unable to string together more than two straight wins, beside a so-far season best triumphant trio of victories against Olympic, Kingston and Chief Sealth between Dec. 27 and Jan. 4.
Spartan sophomore Andrew Ward led the team’s scoring efforts Friday, managing 12 points on the night. The other top scorers were senior Jackson Taylor, who put up 10, and Jacob Kirsch, who managed seven.
The Ballard game was not a total wash, Haizlip said, finding several aspects of the performance worth praising.
“Some of the possessions; we had some great offensive rebounds,” he said. “I love that. That shows great energy. But we also gave up some really easy buckets. That’s kind of been our issue. We get stops but we then, after like two stops, we can’t score. And we give up the easy buckets. I’m frustrated.”
Three of the final four games on the Spartan schedule are to be played at home. The squad hosted Lakeside (3-7 in conference) Tuesday, and will play again in Paski Gymnasium against Nathan Hale (0-10) at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18.
The final home game of the year, and Senior Night, is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, against Eastside Catholic (8-0).