Up at the half, boys fail to derail the O’Dea Express.

As they trotted off the court at halftime with a 31-25 lead, the boys’ basketball team appeared as if they might pull off a major upset against 10th-ranked O’Dea, whose only three losses this year have been to undefeated teams.

As they trotted off the court at halftime with a 31-25 lead, the boys’ basketball team appeared as if they might pull off a major upset against 10th-ranked O’Dea, whose only three losses this year have been to undefeated teams.

But the Irish needed less than three minutes in the third quarter and put the game out of reach with a 12-point run in the fourth quarter as they cruised to a 71-48 win on Friday at the BHS gym.

The Spartans jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead on Adam Brenneman’s trey and four points from Joey Picha, making his first varsity start. Though O’Dea took the lead at 10-9, Brenneman sank two free throws and Hank Guterson drained a three-pointer from the right corner as the Spartans took a 14-12 lead at the end of the quarter.

Though the Irish regained the lead midway through the second quarter, their vocal coach – who earlier in the game had yelled at one of his own players who’d questioned a call, “You pushed off like you always do!” – exploded after a shooting foul and was whistled for a technical.

That put Brenneman on the line for four straight shots with everyone else gathered at midcourt. Acting as calmly as if he was shooting in his own driveway, the senior drained all four to give the Spartans a 21-18 lead.

With the score tied at 24-24 late in the quarter, Guterson drained another trey from the right corner, Teddy Picha scored on a layin and Joey Picha had a putback at the buzzer to put the Spartans up five at intermission.

Shooting carefully, Bainbridge was nine for 18 from the field and had 10 free throws to O’Dea’s four.

The teams traded baskets early in the third quarter, then the O’Dea Express finally left the station.

After two free throws, they stole the inbounds pass to reduce the margin to a point. They forced a 10-second violation and added another hoop. A minute later they were up 38-33. Brenneman’s 10-foot jumper halted the momentum, and after a another Irish basket, Mike Botefuhr stole the ball and laid it in for a 40-37 margin at 2:51.

Moments later, Guterson made the Spartan individual highlight film play of the night.

Driving to the hoop, he was suddenly confronted by O’Dea’s massive 6-8 junior Robbie Will, who already had at least four rejections. Staying aloft long enough to qualify for a private pilot’s license, Guterson began with the ball up, was forced to pull it down and under Will’s massive arm, then brought it back up again and laid it in.

But O’Dea scored the quarter’s final four points for a 47-39 edge. Most of the damage came from southpaw Mitch Johnson – the son of former Sonic J.J. Johnson – who was five of six.

Teddy Picha opened the scoring in the fourth quarter, then after an O’Dea trey added two free throws to keep the score close at 50-43. But O’Dea ran off a dozen points in the next two and a half minutes before Travis Guterson’s trey, a clone of his brother’s two previous ones. The Irish added another nine-point string before Ross Maloney’s putback with four seconds left closed out the scoring.

O’Dea blistered the net with 18 for 25 shooting in the second half, most of them from close-in on layins and offensive rebounds. The Spartans, on the other hand, were just seven of 21. They also turned the ball over 11 times in the second half.

“They’re probably the best-coached team we’ve played so far,” coach Scott Orness said of the Irish. “And for us, it was the same story – turnovers and giving up offensive rebounds.”

Teddy Picha led the team with 12 points, while Brenneman had 11. Hank Guterson added eight, Joey Picha and Botefuhr each had six, Travis Guterson had three and Ross Maloney two.

The team traveled to Cleveland last night, and hosts Eastside Catholic on Friday.

O’Dea JVs 83, Bainbridge JVs 43 – The Irish exploded for 37 points in the second quarter to open up a 51-14 lead at halftime.

“We had a lot of players ineligible or partly eligible due to missed practices during winter break,” said coach Keith Kirkwood. “We had a general inability to get any penetration on offense and a season-high 31 turnovers, 13 in the second quarter.”

Mark Korsak led the team with nine points, while Tyler Bural and Zac Townsend both added six.

O’Dea “C” 56, Bainbridge “C” 32 – After falling behind 11-5 in the first quarter, the Spartans outscored the Irish 12-11 in the second to trail just 22-17 at the half. But a big third quarter – O’Dea outscored Bainbridge 22-6 – was the difference.

“We played good defense in the first half,” said coach Chris White. “But the long break caught up with us in the second half.”

Eric Baker led the team with eight points, while Chase Sandbloom added seven.

The team hosts Sequim 6:30 p.m. today