Sports

Spartans take Trojans off turnovers

Oly’s Xavier Mancha snags a rebound in the first half of the Trojans’ 68-45 loss to Bainbridge on Tuesday. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Oly’s Xavier Mancha snags a rebound in the first half of the Trojans’ 68-45 loss to Bainbridge on Tuesday.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – What started out as a close game Tuesday unraveled in just more than two minutes for the Olympic Trojans, as the Bainbridge Spartans stormed ahead to a 68-45 win at home.

With the game still up for the taking with 2:47 left in the third quarter, the Trojans (1-7) appeared to be building momentum, overcoming 18 first-half turnovers to face just a 38-32 deficit. But with the Spartans (5-3) applying strong pressure, combined with their obvious size advantage, Bainbridge finished the quarter on a 12-2 run, capped by a Chris Kelly 3-pointer at the buzzer, to end the third up 50-34.

Olympic coach Tyson Whitfield said consistent shooting in the first half helped Oly overcome its turnovers.

“(Clutch shooting) helped a lot considering our 18 turnovers in the first,” Whitfield said. “They came into the locker room and I said, ‘We had 18 turnovers and we’re down by six. If we cut that in half, we’re up 10 easy.’”

Bainbridge was able to get into their offensive rhythm in the second half however, and never looked back.

“We just got relaxed and kept it simple,” Bainbridge coach Scott Orness said. “In the first half we were rushing a lot. We cleaned it up in the third quarter.”

The Spartans played strong defense, forcing 26 Oly turnovers. But perhaps more than anything else, the sharpshooting of junior John Bruns kept Olympic from pulling ahead before the half. Bruns finished the game with 16 points, connecting on three crucial 3-pointers to kill any Trojan momentum.

“He’ll come out and miss a few,” Orness said. “But then all of a sudden, he’ll hit three or four in a row. That’s the mark of great shooters.”

Bainbridge was able to seal the game in the fourth, never letting up en route to a 18-11 quarter.

Whitfield said he had hoped his team would be more fired up in the game, especially coming off of their 84-70 stomping of Stadium last week.

“The way I look at it, we still should have beat them,” Whitfield said. “We should believe we can beat them. They’re a well-seasoned team. They’ve been in a bunch of tough games.”

He said that big game experience, referring to the toughness of the Metro League, may have given Bainbridge a small mental advantage over the Trojans.

But according to Orness, the biggest difference was the size of post players Theo Miller and Coby Gibler, who are both 6-foot-6.

“In the first half, we weren’t really communicating inside,” Orness said. “In the second half, we kept the ball high and started settling down. Tips, alley-oops, posting up. They did it all in the second half. I think it was the difference in the game.”

Miller also had 16 for the Spartans, and Gibler had a fantastic all-around game, finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks.

Whitfield said while size factored in, Oly did a decent job of containing the Spartan duo. Olympic’s tallest player is 6-feet, 5-inches, but is a reserve.

“Size hurt us a little bit, but not as much as it should have,” Whitfield said. “They were setting a lot of screens off of (Miller). They are solid players. We just didn’t play defensively how I was expecting.”

Both coaches said their teams were a little rusty coming in.

“We had a week off and only got in one practice,” Orness said. “So we were a little bit rusty. But I proud of how the guys came out.”

And while Olympic stayed active with another game over the break, Whitfield said combined with the holidays, his guys were just running out of gas.

“I kind of attribute that to fatigue,” Whitfield said. “I was trying to get guys to be aggressive and take it inside. Instead, they were taking floaters. Our shots were falling in the first half. But then that fatigue sets in. Guys stop using their legs on jumpshots and freethrows.”

Chris MacLaren led a balanced Olympic offense with 10 points, and Xavier Mancha and Justin Turner each added 9.

Olympic next plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bremerton.

At BAINBRIDGE 68, OLYMPIC 45

Olympic 10 16 8 11 – 45

Bainbridge 15 17 18 18 – 68

Olympic – Ryan Neal, Austin Manson 8, Josh Jones, 7, Travis Moore 2, Justin Turner 9, Xavier Mancha 9, Chris MacLaren 10, Richard Smith.

Bainbridge – TJ Benz 2, Matt Frazee, Caleb Davis, John Bruns 16, Chris kelly 5, Cody Bludorn 7, Lance Trueb 2, Theo Miller 16, Grant Leslie 8, Austin Wood, Coby Gibler 12.

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