Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review - Bainbridge junior Audrey Nelson looks to pass to a teammate during last Friday’s home game against West Seattle.

Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review - Bainbridge junior Audrey Nelson looks to pass to a teammate during last Friday’s home game against West Seattle.

Bainbridge girls tame Wildcats 74-44 in varsity basketball battle

Now we’re talking.

After a slow start to the season, the Bainbridge High School varsity girls basketball team began what may become a streak, claiming their third win of the year, their second in a row, Friday, Dec. 20, at home against West Seattle (2-3).

The island squad scored first and was the dominant team throughout the game, capping the night with a 74-44 victory and improving their overall season record to 3-4 (3-2 in conference).

BHS boasts the sixth-place spot in the Metro League standings.

Garfield remains the top team, with an unblemished conference record of 5-0 (5-3 overall).

Franklin sits in second (4-0 in conference), while Seattle Prep and Lakeside share third (4-1).

Coming on the heels of the Cleveland win, last Friday was, according to BHS Head Coach Karen Byers, an important victory — both in terms of the team’s evolution and because with it in the books she could rest a bit easier.

And finally get something to eat.

“I’ve been nervous all day,” she said.

“I told the girls I really want this; I’ve hardly eaten all day. This is a game that, for me, we were so competitive with them last year and we didn’t quite turn the tables. This year it was great to set the tone. We got Cleveland and now we’re going to battle a tougher team at home and that’s great.”

On Friday, BHS certainly did set the tone: They scored first, almost immediately, and maintained the dominant role throughout the night.

They led 10-2 with about four minutes left in the first quarter, and ultimately entered the second up 16-11.

The halftime buzzer saw them comfortably ahead 40-25, and the third was more of the same, with the game sitting at 58-30 by the start of the final quarter.

“I think we’re really hitting our three main keys, things that we were struggling with earlier in the season and now we’ve kind of hit that groove and overcome them a little bit,” Byers said.

Though the night was not completely without struggle — fouls abounded, to a noticeable degree.

“It was a lot of fouls,” Byers said. “It was a really bumpy game and actually I thought they could have called some more fouls on both teams because I had some girls pretty banged up on the sidelines.”

Not that she was complaining.

“We knew it was going to be bumpy; it was bumpy last year,” Byers said. “Watching the JV [game], they were also pretty bumpy and scrappy. We knew that was coming down.”

Besides improving the team’s record, Friday’s win saw the specific advancement of one special Spartan to rarefied heights within the program.

Co-captain and reliable points machine Olivia Wikstrom is now reportedly the second-highest scorer in the history of Bainbridge High School girls basketball — and comfortably on track to be the Spartans’ top shooter by the season’s end.

“She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known,” Byers said of the senior, who is already committed to playing college ball. “She is goal-oriented, she has got her eye on the prize and she will just hone in on that and work hard to get that.

“She’s in the gym all the time … and she’s just dedicated to her craft.”

The Spartans played their last game of the year at home on Monday against Kingston.

They next return home, after a series of three away games, to host Chief Sealth at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8.

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