The Spartans ended their season on a win.
Two wins, actually.
Having lost a scrappy close match to Roosevelt in the semi-final round of this year’s boys state water polo tournament, again hosted by Curtis High School, the Bainbridge High School varsity team bounced back early on the final day of play, scoring two consecutive victories to claim third place.
The Spartans were seeded in the No. 2 spot going into their first match on Thursday, Nov. 14, against Bellevue, the seventh-place seed, who’d won a spot on the bracket via a play-in game the day before.
Handily, the island team advanced after a 16-4 win to play Roosevelt the next day, in the semis.
There, the Spartans hit their sole stumbling block of the state championship tournament.
BHS scored first, with about 6:22 left in the quarter, but the Rough Riders quickly evened things up 1-all.
It was to be a pattern throughout much of the game, the score-and-answer jostling.
Roosevelt began to pull away in the later moments of the first quarter, and they entered the second up 6-4.
Bainbridge mounted an immediate comeback, however, and the score stood 7-all with about five minutes left in the half. But then the Spartans nudged their way into a one-goal lead less than a minute later, to resounding applause from the robust crowd of Bainbridge fans.
Alas, it was not to last.
Roosevelt, who had an equally vocal pack of supporters, managed to regain the top spot in the back-and-forth, and the match entered the final quarter with Bainbridge, a notoriously strong fourth-quarter team, down 12-9 but optimistic.
Sadly, it was a preview of things to come.
The crippling combo of several unanswered goals and a truly stellar showing by Roosevelt’s man in the net left the island squad on the short end of a 14-10 final score and staring down the barrel of having to battle their way back toward the top of the bracket the next day, Saturday, bright and early.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the island squad promptly returned to the University Place pool and scored a 12-8 win against perennial rivals Mercer Island (a team they’d already beaten twice this season) to earn a spot in the penultimate match of the tournament, against Newport, to decide the third- and fourth-place finishers.
A 12-7 victory against the Knights earned BHS the higher spot and a plaque, and several individual Spartans were singled out for All State placement, too.
Senior Thomas Defawe was named to First Team All State.
Sophomores Harrison Villella and Oskar Bannister were included on the roster for this year’s Second Team.
Senior starting goalie and team co-captain Jack Williams nabbed an honorable mention spot, as well.