It’s been an up-and-down season for the Bainbridge Island Spartans girls basketball team as they sat at 2-2 heading into Saturday’s match against Gig Harbor.
They opened the season with a 51-21 win over East Jefferson and beat Bremerton 44-21 last week; Bainbridge also battled a tough Olympic team down to the wire, losing by just 43-42.
With the Tides visiting the island, the Spartans were hoping to get back above .500. However, the team struggled in the middle quarters before picking up steam in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough as the visitors prevailed 50-37.
“It’s kind of been a tale of two teams. We’re either hot or we’re not,” coach Karen Byers said.
The final eight minutes was by far their best stretch. The Spartans were able to take advantage of the bonus to pick up some extra scoring opportunities. Foul shooting was a strength for Bainbridge, as the team went 9-for-12 in the fourth quarter and 13-for-16 overall.
They were at their best when driving to the basket, led by seniors Audrey Nelson and Anna Kozlosky.
“We practice a lot of attack moves and different ways to attack during practice,” Byers said, “and we’re just having trouble getting it into our games. You saw today it took us a little while, but then once it clicked, we know how to roll.”
Nelson made several strong moves to the hoop and either made the basket or hit the subsequent foul shots. She scored eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.
“Audrey is, and has been for the last three years, my hardest worker on the team,” Byers said. “She doesn’t back down. She asks to guard their best player and wants that challenge. You can see how she affects the game.”
Kozlosky finished with a game-high 15 points despite Gig Harbor paying close attention to her on defense. Kozlosky entered the game as Bainbridge’s top scorer by a good margin, averaging 13 points per game as well as 9.5 rebounds. “To ask her to carry the team is a big ask, but she’s doing well,” Byers said.
The Spartans kept things close early as Kozlosky opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, and Greta Chin hit an early bucket to keep the Tides within four points. Nelson added a 3-pointer and a pair of foul shots, and Bainbridge was within striking distance by the end of the first quarter, trailing 16-10. But the offense went cold in the second and third quarters, and they trailed 38-19 by the end of the third.
Bainbridge is hoping to build on that fourth quarter as they head into Tuesday’s game at Central Kitsap. The season’s short duration combined with a high number of games leaves little practice time in between.
“Everything has been so compressed, and it’s so short,” Byers said. “When it’s that short, it’s like a magnifying glass of the things you do well and also the things you don’t do well, and it doesn’t allow you a lot of time to adjust.”
Gig Harbor 50, Bainbridge 37
GH 16 12 10 12 — 50
BI 10 5 4 18 — 37
Gig Harbor (50) — Paul 14, Berry 13, Schwab 9, Mamea 7, Peschek 4, Hunter 2, Roppolo 1.