“No band. A handful of students. The dance team set to perform at halftime. And the scoreboard showing a 25-4 first quarter edge. Sounds a lot like a Tuesday night game with Klahowya. Unfortunately, the scene was the Tacoma Dome, not the Spartan gym, and it was Bainbridge on the short end of the score. Blanchet scored seven points in the first minute and romped to a 61-40 thumping on Thursday in the 3A girls basketball tournament. The Spartans opened the tournament with a tense 50-42 win over Rainier Beach the previous day.Even Thursday’s most positive accomplishment was lessened, as the official scorer somehow missed one of freshman Alice Russell’s six blocked shots and credited her with five.Yesterday afternoon, the team met defending champion Meadowdale in a loser-out game. If the Spartans won, they play today at 1:30 for fourth place.In retrospect, Bainbridge might have been better off losing last Friday’s classic come-from-behind game to White River for the district championship. The Spartans No. 1 seed coming out gave them the privilege of joining three of the state’s four top-ranked teams – Blanchet, Bellevue, Meadowdale – in the tournament’s upper bracket, and the Spartans’ first-round opponent was a physical Rainier Beach team that not only extended them to the limit but also wound up hobbling leading scorer Emily Pierce.White River, on the other hand, opened with a purported No. 1 district seed in 14-9 Arlington that went a feeble two-and-out, then lost by a basket to a 22-4 Lakeside team that’s likely a notch below the fab four.Blanchet dispatched Bainbridge with almost surgical precision, though the Spartans contributed to their own demise with a number of early turnovers and bad shots. Perhaps it was the sight of Pierce limping, perhaps it was the knowledge that Bainbridge had never beaten Blanchet in post-season, or that even the state championship team of two years ago had lost to Blanchet in regular season play. Whatever the case, the Spartans rarely showed the poise and polish that made them Olympic League co-champions.Blanchet took the opening tip and scored inside within 12 seconds. Bainbridge missed a shot.Blanchet’s leading scorer Jen Segadelli hit a three-foot bank shot at 7:25.Bainbridge had a turnover.Segadelli hit a trey at 7:02.Bainbridge had a turnover.Segadelli hit another trey, this one from the right corner, at 6:26 to put her team up 10-0.Bainbridge had a turnover.Blanchet finally missed a shot, but in the next two minutes Bainbridge put up two air balls, had two players get their hands on a rebound, but when neither gained control Blanchet got the ball back, and turned the ball over again on a traveling violation. Typical of the way things were going, Jenny Maurer, given the first decent look a Spartan had at the basket as the taller, more physical and exceptionally disciplined Braves played suffocating defense, saw her shot rim in and out.Morgan Zajonc finally got the Spartans on the board at 3:23 as they trailed 13-2, but Blanchet went on an eight-point run which was punctuated by a textbook illustration on how to shoot a trey: Segadelli fired a 10-foot pass to her post, who fired it back as Spartan defenders took a step in and Segadelli drained it. Russell halted the momentum with a pair of free throws, but Blanchet scored the final four points of the period for their 25-4 lead. Bainbridge outscored Blanchet in the second quarter 14-12 as Maurer’s 15-footer and Fab Rezayat’s trey in the final minute made the score 37-18. Segadelli, who finished with 20, had 16 points at the break to nearly equal the Spartans’ output. Russell had four blocks and four points. But Pierce had no points and just one rebound as she clearly was playing under a handicap.Blanchet outscored Bainbridge 14-4 in the first six minutes in the third quarter before Rezayat’s trey, Maurer’s free throw, Russell’s follow shot and Haley Wiggins’ steal at mid-court and layin made the score 54-30 at the buzzer.Carlie Miller sank a trey to open the fourth quarter. Russell had her most spectacular rejection soon afterward, simply stuffing the ball and then pulling it away from the shooter. Schwager hit a free throw and Lee Maloney rejected a shot to provide the most enjoyable interlude for the Spartan faithful. With less than four minutes left, Russell fed Pierce, who sank a twisting three-foot bank shot for her only field goal. She wound up with three points, far below her season average of over 15 points.Blanchet has a great program, said coach Penny Gienger. They’ve been in the semis six times in the last seven years and they’re solid at every position. They came out blazing and took care of business as they should have.We knew they would be tough and we’d have to play our best game to win, Pierce said, but they came out on fire and we were dead.We picked it up after the first quarter, but it wasn’t enough.She admitted that her movement was limited because of hip pain, which she rated as seven or eight on a 10-point scale.But it’s hard for me to say ‘coach, I’m hurting, send in a sub,’ she said, because I try to play and boost morale.Maurer visibly tried to fill the same morale-boosting function, diving for loose balls, harrying Blanchet dribblers and on one memorable occasion snatching the ball from a Blanchet player’s hands only to be tackled in return.Russell had a team-high eight points, Rezayat and Schwager each had six, Maurer added five and everyone else on the roster save Maloney had either one, two or three. Russell had seven boards and Zajonc added six.Minus the first four made shots, Blanchet shot 31 percent, the same as the Spartans. One big difference was in assists: the Braves had 15, the Spartans five.First-round winThe previous day was as memorable as the Blanchet game was one most Spartans would like to forget.Emily Pierce had just committed a foul, knocking one of Rainier Beach’s SUV-sized post players to the floor. As the players began heading for the foul line, the Tacoma Dome began to shake. And shake. And shake.Fab Rezayat paid no attention.Focus! she exhorted several teammates as she noticed their concentration beginning to wander.I was the only person here who didn’t feel the quake, she laughed in the wake of the Spartans’ hard-fought win, punctuated midway through the opening quarter by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake.Rezayat, like her teammates, could afford to laugh as the Spartans started fast, fell behind briefly in the third quarter and notched six points in the final 1:10, the final four by Rezayat herself, to seal the win.We played all right, Gienger said. They were pretty quick for us.Rezayat echoed the latter sentiment: Even Port Angeles doesn’t measure up to how quick their hands were.Emily Pierce understandably had a somewhat different take. Knocked down four times in the game’s first two minutes without a single foul call, she said, They had a lot of attitude and they knew how to push.Picking up her third foul early in the second half, she said, I was frustrated because the girl I was guarding elbowed me in the stomach. So I pushed back and I got caught. But winning is the best revenge.The game opened as if winning would come easily. Freshman Alice Russell scored four points and blocked a shot as Bainbridge rocketed to a 10-0 lead before the earthquake interrupted play at the 4:05 mark of the first quarter. Rainier Beach got quickly on the board after that as Russell picked up her second foul. Two minutes later Pierce had her second as well. Beach’s Ebonee Newson, a 5’11, nearly 200-pound post player reputed to have an excellent outside shot, took advantage of Spartan reserves by draining two quick treys and the score was suddenly 15-9. Jenny Maurer’s free throw made the score at the end of the quarter 16-9. Bainbridge scored the first five points of the second quarter on a Rezayat free throw -Beach’s aggressive play put the Spartans into a one-and-one situation at that point -and short jumpers by Russell and Jenny Maurer, but the Vikings closed to 23-17 with just under three minutes left. The scoring pace slowed after that and the halftime score was Bainbridge 26, Beach 20.The third quarter opened with Newson’s third trey to cut the margin to 26-23. Schwager answered with a jumper, but another Beach trey cut the margin to two. Pierce scored on an inbounds play, but within 45 seconds both Russell and Pierce had their third fouls. Newson scored under the hoop to cut the lead to 30-29 at 5:50 and her team took the lead 31-30 within half a minute, having outscored the Spartans 22-9 in just over nine minutes spanning the second and third quarters. The Spartans immediately turned the ball over, and the Beach strategy seemed apparent as Newson tried to back in with both Pierce and Russell reluctant to pick up their fourth fouls. But she missed and on the Spartans’ next possession, Courtney Kimball found herself going parallel to the baseline in the middle of the free throw lane. She threw up a twisting five-foot jumper that dropped cleanly through the hoop.Then Russell fed Pierce under the basket to give the Spartans some slight breathing room at 34-31. The teams exchanged baskets as the quarter wound down before Laura Horning – playing in her first game in nearly three months after recovering from a broken wrist – re-entered the game with 45 seconds left. She scored almost immediately on an inbounds pass and with four seconds on the clock Kimball fed her for an easy layin and a 40-35 lead.Both teams seemed tight in the final quarter, with turnovers and missed shots, but Newson brought her team to within 42-39 with 4:34 left and Russell picked up her fourth foul 30 seconds later.Rezayat broke a three-minute Spartan scoring drought with two free throws at 2:23, Beach responded with Newson’s fourth trey, and stole the ball on the Spartans’ subsequent possession. But the Vikings missed three consecutive shots before Schwager finally pulled down the rebound. A few moments later, Russell broke away from her defender and took a pass from Pierce under the basket to make the score 46-42 with 1:10 to go. Newson missed a trey, and after a Spartan timeout, Rezayat hit a clutch 10-foot jumper – her sole field goal of the game – to make the score 48-42. Beach was whistled for an offensive foul and Rezayat sank two free throws with 4.7 seconds left to close out the scoring.Pierce led the team with 11 points, Russell finished with 10, Rezayat had nine, Schwager seven, Maurer five, and Kimball and Hornung four each. Newson, a junior, had 22 for the Vikings.The Spartans racked up a 46-39 rebounding edge as Russell had 10 and Pierce nine. Bainbridge survived without sinking a single trey as the post players shot a combined 12 of 24 with the rest of the team just six of 24 for an overall percentage of 37.5.And just as the earthquake damage proved more serious than it appeared initially, the incessant buffeting that Pierce sustained, in particular from Newson and her even larger sister Myriah, seriously hindered her mobility the following day.But Pierce can lay claim to one bit of tournament folklore. Long after the results of the 2001 tournament have been forgotten, her name will remain engraved on the memories of those in attendance.When the building stopped shaking and the girls walked back onto the court to take their positions on the free throw lane as the game resumed, the announcer said:Emily Pierce with the foul, and what a foul it was. “
“Spartans meet their matchAfter a first-round win, the team bows out to a tough Blanchet squad.”
"No band. A handful of students. The dance team set to perform at halftime. And the scoreboard showing a 25-4 first quarter edge. Sounds a lot like a Tuesday night game with Klahowya. Unfortunately, the scene was the Tacoma Dome, not the Spartan gym, and it was Bainbridge on the short end of the score. Blanchet scored seven points in the first minute and romped to a 61-40 thumping on Thursday in the 3A girls basketball tournament. The Spartans opened the tournament with a tense 50-42 win over Rainier Beach the previous day.Even Thursday's most positive accomplishment was lessened, as the official scorer somehow missed one of freshman Alice Russell's six blocked shots and credited her with five.Yesterday afternoon, the team met defending champion Meadowdale in a loser-out game. If the Spartans won, they play today at 1:30 for fourth place.In retrospect, Bainbridge might have been better off losing last Friday's classic come-from-behind game to White River for the district championship. The Spartans No. 1 seed coming out gave them the privilege of joining three of the state's four top-ranked teams - Blanchet, Bellevue, Meadowdale - in the tournament's upper bracket, and the Spartans' first-round opponent was a physical Rainier Beach team that not only extended them to the limit but also wound up hobbling leading scorer Emily Pierce. "