Shooters fight to keep their fire alive

The boys basketball team started cold and finished hot on Friday to defeat Chief Sealth 68-58 at home, then started hot and finished cold on Saturday, losing to Ingraham 65-60.

The boys basketball team started cold and finished hot on Friday to defeat Chief Sealth 68-58 at home, then started hot and finished cold on Saturday, losing to Ingraham 65-60.

Led by Adam Brenneman’s nine for 10 from the field and Spencer Evans’ six for seven, the team shot a combined 23 for 37 (62%) in the final three quarters to overcome an early eight-point deficit against Chief Sealth.

Apart from a three-pointer from Henry Guterson, the Spartan offense in the first quarter was Teddy Picha converting inbounds passes under the Bainbridge basket. Even with Picha’s two short-range hoops, the Spartans shot just three of nine and turned the ball over seven times.

So when the Seahawks scored ten seconds after the start of the second quarter to take a 17-9 lead, a hush fell over the gym.

But Travis Guterson responded with a pair of free throws, Mike Botefuhr dribbled the length of the court after a Seahawk miss, and Evans scored twice as the Spartans needed just over a minute to tie the game.

Picha hit a free throw, then Brenneman sank a trey and drove the baseline to put the Spartans up 23-17 with a 14-point run in four minutes. While the Seahawks came back to tie at 26-26, Henry Guterson’s trey and Picha’s 10-foot baseline jumper gave the Spartans a 31-26 halftime edge. Bainbridge also took much better care of the ball in the second quarter, turning it over just twice.

The Spartan scoring pace slowed in the third quarter, with Picha scoring the team’s first nine points in four and a half minutes, as Chief Sealth closed to within 40-37.

After Evans hit a five-foot bank shot for a five-point lead, Simon Pollack made one of the game’s key plays as he took a charge that quickly led to a Spartan hoop as Brenneman fed Evans for a layin. Moments later, Evans stole the ball and fed Brenneman for a layin to give the Spartans a 46-37 edge heading into the final quarter.

The final eight minutes provided entertaining basketball as Bainbridge scored 22 points on eight of eleven shooting.

The Seahawks, behind their quick – very quick – sophomore guard Joe Jones, who is listed generously – very generously – at 5-10, refused to fold, even after Brenneman scored nine points in the first two and a half minutes to give Bainbridge a 55-37 lead and conclude a 15-0 run in under four minutes. But the closest that Chief Sealth could get was the 10-point margin at the finish.

Brenneman finished the period with points, en route to a game-high 22. Picha had 16, while Evans added 12. Henry Guterson had seven, Travis Guterson six, Mike Botefuhr four and Pollack one. Jones led the Seahawks with 20.

“The game gave us a glimpse of how well we can play,” said coach Scott Orness. “We were faced with adversity early in the game and we responded well.”

The Spartans’ stellar shooting took the ferry over to the Ingraham gym the following evening as the Spartans shot 15 for 24 (63%) in the first half to open up an eight-point lead.

“We had a dynamite start,” said coach Orness. “But we started the third quarter playing tentatively. They put pressure on us, and we didn’t handle it well.”

The Spartans turned the ball over eight times. One consequence was that the Rams took seven more shots and outscored the Spartans 22-12 to take a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

Then Ingraham’s Donte Mann took over the game, personally outscoring Bainbridge 9-8 in the final quarter en route to a game-high 26 points. Bainbridge shot just two of 12 in the last eight minutes, with nine of their attempts coming from beyond the three-point arc.

Picha led the Spartans with 20 points, while Botefuhr – who was four of six from three-point range – added 17. Evans had seven, Brenneman six, Henry Guterson added five, Travis Guterson had three and Pollack two.

“We’ve tried a lot more three-pointers in our losses than in our wins,” said Orness. “We need to pound the ball inside more.

“But overall we’ve been competitive in all six of our games. We’ve had a shot at winning all of them.”

After playing last night at Rainier Beach, the Spartans return home on Saturday to take on Bishop Blanchet in a 5:30 game.

Bainbridge JVs 47, Ingraham JVs 43 – Down 35-27 at the half and by 10 with four minutes remaining in Saturday’s game, the Spartans launched a fierce man-to-man full-court press to create numerous turnovers that resulted in easy baskets. In the final minute, Ross Maloney sank two free throws and Mark Korsak drained four more to insure the win. Korsak led the team with 13, while Joey Picha added nine and Maloney eight.

Chief Sealth JVs 55, Bainbridge JVs 47 – Ahead 23-22 at the half and 35-31 after three quarters on Friday, the Spartans allowed a flurry of offensive rebounds that gave the Seahawks a number of second-chance shots in the final quarter. They also sank 13 of 14 free throws to pull away in the final moments.

Schuyler Boone had 14 points to lead Bainbridge, while Korsak had nine.

Bainbridge “C” 38, Port Angeles “C” 34 – Down by five points with three minutes to go, the Spartans rallied to win as Grant Leslie scored six of his team-high 13 points and Cody Bludorn added a pair of clutch free throws.

“It was pretty hard to watch,” said coach Chris White, as his team shot just 22 percent from the field. “For a while, I thought we would have our first loss.” Instead, his team scored its fourth win of the season.

White said, “It just shows how this team is maturing, that we can shoot that badly and still find a way to win.”

Eddie Pasquale pulled down 12 rebounds, seven on the offensive end. Eric Baker dished out four assists.

In a busy week, the team hosted North Mason last night, travels to Lakeside tomorrow and hosts Blanchet Saturday at 2 p.m.