BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Clutch shooting in the waning moments proved fruitful for the Bainbridge Spartans as they beat Kingston 48-47 in a non-league girls basketball game Thursday.
Led by the 16 points and 12 rebounds from Olivia Wikstrom, the Spartans survived a second-half surge by the Buccaneers to claim the win.
Spartans coach Henry Guterson said the difference in the final period was free throws. Bainbridge went 6-for-6 from the line to start the fourth quarter and help the Spartans overcome a 35-32 deficit to lead 40-35 with 4:32 left.
“They have no big weaknesses,” Guterson said of the Buccaneers. “Good point guard, a good center. I like them a lot.”
Guterson said the Spartans were without starting guard Kendall Havill, who rolled her ankle in a loss to North Kitsap on Dec. 19. Her return is unknown, Guterson said, adding he wasn’t sure how his team would react to a different lineup.
“She’s a player that does a lot for us,” he said. “How we counteract that missing piece. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but I was happy.”
After taking a 22-15 lead into halftime, Bainbridge saw its lead disappear on a baseline corner 3-pointer by Lily Beaulieu at the buzzer. Kingston led 34-32 into the fourth, but those free throws turned the game around for the Spartans.
“We were really stagnant in the first half,” Kingston coach Charles Deam said. “Obviously we played a lot better in the second half. We made some adjustments to what they were doing on the press.”
Anna Kozlosky and Wikstrom each hit three-pointers to increase Bainbridge’s lead to 46-42 with 2:17 left but Kingston wasn’t going to roll over. The Buccaneers pressured the Spartans, and despite trailing 48-42, Sierra Denning nailed a 3-pointer with 1:03 left to cut Bainbridge’s lead 48-45.
With less than 20 seconds remaining, Kingston’s Beaulieu cut through traffic in the right post and hit a wide-open layup and drew the foul on Bainbridge’s Grace Carson to make it 48-47. Carson finished with 13 points while Kozlosky chipped in 8 points.
Beaulieu had the chance to tie the game, but she missed the free throw. Kingston held onto possession and put up two shots under the basket, but the ball hit the rim both times and rolled out of bounds with .8 seconds left.
After timeouts by Kingston and Bainbridge, the Buccaneers had time for one shot, and the inbounds pass went to Denning who’s shot was good, but it banked off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
“We did some really good things,” Deam said, adding at times the youth showed and it’s something they need to work on as the second half of the season starts next week.
Guterson gave credit to the Bucs, who he said are a talented team and knew it when he was watching them warm up before the game.
Kingston’s Beaulieu led the Bucs with 16 points while Denning had 11 points and Avy Hiner 10 points.
Beaulieu said the Bucs are still learning to make better choices, but she knows it will come as they gain experience each game.
“Obviously we can get better,” she said.