Spartans hand Bremerton 1st loss in close battle

The Bremerton boys basketball team traveled to Bainbridge Jan. 4 with an 11-0 record and ranked as one of the top teams in the state by multiple polls.

On the other hand, the Spartans had lost four of its last six games.

Although the Knights were favored, the Spartans pulled off a 50-49 upset.

“I wish I could describe what we have been going through the last week regarding mentality and mindset,” Bainbridge coach Will Ferris said. “All the credit in the world to Bremerton. I do not want to see how that group grows in the future. We needed it to be this way because we needed this test to show we can believe in ourselves.”

The Knights looked to run the Spartans out of the gym early, taking a 9-0 lead within the first couple of minutes. Bremerton continued to force Bainbridge to play at a high tempo and forced several turnovers.

Knight freshman Jalen Davis pushed them ahead in the first half with 15 points while Spartan Teddy Hanlon led the home team with five.

“At halftime, I told them this is how it needed to be because if we want to buy into it, we got to be in games like this,” Ferris said. “This was a game worth playing for both teams.”

Davis and the Knights continued to roll in the third period, taking a 33-22 lead. But Bainbridge was able to slow down the game and get into its half-court offense and the defense held the visitors to three points the rest of the period.

“We went out and decided we would play our ball,” Spartan standout Sam Nylund said. “We were going to stop settling for threes and get down in the paint and the result came out how we wanted it to.”

Will Rohrbacher scored a handful of layups while Nylund and Calum McCarter nailed a few shots from the perimeter. Bainbridge trailed just 36-33 after three quarters.

Davis kept the Knights on top with a floater and mid-range shot. However, the Spartans tied the game for the first time with three minutes left in the game when McCarter threw up a three-point attempt with the shot clock expiring.

Afterward, Nylund and Davis battled until the final buzzer. Nylund scored a three-pointer to make it 48-45 while Davis responded with a layup. The clincher came when Nylund stole the ball and fought for a layup to make it 50-47 with 30 seconds left.

“I was playing my butt off, and the result came my way,” Nylund said. “I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Davis scored a layup with two seconds left. Bainbridge did not pick up the ball to inbound and allowed the clock to expire for the stunning victory.

“It’s awesome to go out there and compete with your guys, give it your all and get that result,” Nylund said. “It’s an incredible feeling.”

Nylund ended with 17 points while Davis had 30.

Spartan Calum McCarter nails the game-tying three-pointer.

Spartan Calum McCarter nails the game-tying three-pointer.