BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — The script couldn’t have been written much better for the Bainbridge Spartans girls basketball team Tuesday night.
Hosting a loser-out Metro League District qualifier against rival Holy Names, the Spartans started quickly and ran the Cougars out of Peski gym in a 63-45 win behind the 25 points from Olivia Wikstrom and 20 points from Kendall Havill.
Bainbridge heads to Ballard Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. game against Roosevelt. That game is also loser out but a win guarantees the Spartans a seventh or eighth seed into the Metro League tournament.
“I think everyone was really excited and really ready going into it,” said Spartan junior Grace Carson. “This is like our first season with a winning record and so everyone’s really excited for the playoffs.”
But the score, said Bainbridge coach Henry Guterson, belied how well the 13th-seeded Cougars (6-17) played.
“It felt like a close game to me,” he said.
It was just No. 8 seed Bainbridge (13-8) played that much better. The Spartans were in the same position last year, with a chance to move on to the league tournament and gain a district berth but fell a game short.
Led sophomore guards Wikstrom and Havill, the Spartans grabbed the momentum from the start and never let it go.
“It’s a high pressure, loser-out game and we rose to the occasion,” Guterson said. “We knocked shots down, played with confidence and moved the ball well. It was really fun to watch.”
On Bainbridge’s opening possession it was Wikstrom who drained an arcing 3-pointer to the delight of the crowd. The offensive onslaught continued in the first half as Wikstrom hit another three. Add in a straightaway jumper by freshman post/guard Anna Kozlosky and a 3-pointer from Havill and the Spartans had a 10-point lead, 22-12, with 5:23 left in the first half.
Even when the Cougars’ defense forced Bainbridge outside the Spartans remained cool as the shot-clock ticked away. Wikstrom nailed a three from the left wing as the halftime buzzer sounded to give Bainbridge a 29-18 lead. Wikstrom had 17 first-half points.
The Spartans didn’t let down in the second half as Havill scored 14 of her 20 points. Carson finished with nine points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter.
“We usually come out as a strong second-half team,” Carson said, “but it felt like we came out and played the whole 32 minutes of good basketball.”
“You need multiple players making shots and playing well,” Guterson added. “We had that tonight.”
Guterson would like to see some more of that confidence show up Wednesday against Roosevelt.
“It’s certainly something we’ve been working towards, putting it all together, playing our best basketball at the end of the year,” he said. “Tonight, I thought it showed all the parts were there. We’re clicking.”