After leading for three quarters the Bainbridge girls basketball team fell to Gig Harbor in the first round of the district tournament 50-40 Feb. 9.
Role players stepped up for the Spartans in the first half. Freshman Elsa Drugge had five points, two steals, a rebound and an assist in the first period. Three teammates also scored to give Bainbridge a 17-13 lead.
The Spartans offense continued to roll into the second quarter. Drugge and Bella Ramirez scored while Hannah Bounketh made a three-pointer to give BHS a 24-15 lead. But the Tides scored six straight to end the half trailing just 24-21.
The two squads traded baskets in the third quarter as Bainbridge led 34-33 going into the fourth.
Willow Bonicci and Taylor Schwab scored five unanswered baskets as the Tides took control 43-34.
Sierra Berry and Ramirez slimmed the lead to 43-38, but they had to send Gig Harbor to the free throw line, and the Tides held on to win.
Last year, the Bainbridge girls basketball won its first playoff game in four years. After edging Silas 46-44 Feb. 7, the Spartans picked up another playoff win to return to the 3A district tournament and play the Tides.
“The girls had some jitters because it is win or go home,” coach Zach Burnham said. “They did great because they had been in this environment before, and we played Silas last year so we had a chip on our shoulder.”
Bounketh gave the Spartans an early 6-2 lead with a pair of three-pointers. But Silas battled back as neither team led more than nine points the entire game. The two squads had 10 lead changes and three ties in the contest.
Although several players scored, the battle came down to the guards. Ramirez dropped 25 points while Silas guard Annique Smith scored 30.
“It was fun going against her,” Ramirez said. “She was a good player and fun to play against.”
Burnham said: “Our main emphasis was [Smith], which is what we discussed the entire week. I told the girls we were not going to allow one girl to beat us. We locked in on her, and she is a heck of a player but it was a collective team effort for the win tonight.”
By halftime, Ramirez had piled up nine of the Spartans 21 points with a handful of floaters and mid-range jumpers. On the other hand, Smith scored 16 with a handful of layups and free throws.
Even though Smith was the primary scorer, Burnham was worried about the size of Silas inside.
“I was worried about 55 and her taking up the paint,” Burnham said. “We got two six-footers we can put in, and Sierra [Berry] is an undersized big, a workhorse who never gives up.”
The Spartan defense began to dominate in the paint in the second half. Berry scored a couple of layups, and Maia Greiwe made a couple of baskets. The Spartan defense held Silas to nine points until the final minute of the game.
Bainbridge led 46-40 with a minute left but became careless with the ball. Bainbridge turned the ball over and missed a shot in the final minutes. For Silas, Smith nailed a three-point shot from the logo and a couple of free throws.
But the Spartans held on.