The Bainbridge boys basketball team lost its play-in playoff game against the Prairie Falcons 55-47 Feb. 8. in Olympia, ending its season.
The Spartans fell into a quick hole within the first few possessions and struggled to respond offensively. “We were never out of that game even though our shots were not falling,” coach Steve Haizlip said. “They kept battling and got defensive stops. That’s what they’ve been doing all year, and the fight was unbelievable.”
After trailing 13-6, the Spartan offense began to click. Sam Nylund and Cooper Benjamin led the Spartans to a single-point deficit heading into the quarter’s final minute. However, Prairie’s Cam Newsome nailed a few shots to give the Falcons a 24-12 lead.
The Spartans crept back into the game but could not put the ball in the hoop, including only making four free throws in the entire game. “We just couldn’t get a bucket to fall,” Haizlip said. “They are a good shooting team but we are a good shooting team too. We give ourselves a chance to win because of our defense.”
The defense stepped up in the second half by slimming the lead to 34-31. Breno Oguji helped push the Spartans into position with a few backdoor layups. In addition, Nylund continued to score.
However, Prairie continued to hold Bainbridge back until the final whistle. The Falcons held the Spartans to 10 points in the final quarter and ended up winning behind Nolan Nunn, who scored 14 points for the Falcons.
Noah Davis led the Spartans with 17. “These moments are tough because you aren’t able to coach these special groups of kids,” Haizlip said. “The hardest thing for me is trying to always get them another game as a coach because they really are special.”