Bainbridge finishes 2nd in state in water polo

The Bainbridge boys water polo team continues its history as one of the top teams in the state, finishing second to longtime rival Curtis 11-9 in the title game Nov. 12.

The Spartans came into the tournament as the first seed after finishing the season 11-1, splitting its regular-season series with Curtis. The Spartans made a splash in the tournament’s first round with an 18-3 victory over No. 9 Interlake.

Bainbridge returned to the Curtis High Aquatic Center on the second day to face Mercer Island. The Spartans, known for their speed and counterattack style, squeaked out a 12-7 victory in the semifinals.

Senior JP Tinney and junior Finn Miller carried the offensive workload throughout the first two games in front of the net. In addition, sophomore RJ Rossart helped lead the counterattack from the wings.

Bainbridge returned to Curtis on the third day of the tourney to face No. 2 Vikings in their home pool. Curtis didn’t really have much of an advantage as Bainbridge utilized the pool for matches during the season as it allowed them to use their speed since it is larger than the Bainbridge Aquatic Center pool.

The Spartans will lose six seniors from this team.

BHS was confident after its huge win over Interlake.

“We are where we want to be,” coach Kristin Gellert said. “We just need to fine-tune some things and shake off some nerves. We have a couple of big days ahead of us, and we just need to go out there and play as a team and have some fun with it.”

The Spartans scored quickly against Interlake, with Micah Webber hitting the back of the net within the first 30 seconds. Rossart added to the scoreboard soon after with a no-look shot coming off a counterattack.

“We try not just to be quicker in swimming but in reaction,” Gellert said. “It was great that the [counterattack] was effective and paid off.”

Bainbridge began to wreak havoc in front of the goal in the first and second quarters. Miller and Tinney both scored three goals from there during that time. Rossart led the fourth-period scoring with two goals.

“We have been working a lot on patience and the right time to enter the ball from,” Gellert said. “A big component of our offense is using the clock, being patient and finding the right pass.”

Michael Bannister was a brick wall for Bainbridge.

Michael Bannister was a brick wall for Bainbridge.