Spartans ready to repeat at state tourney

The Bainbridge Spartans proved to be the most dominant team at the water polo state tournament after the first day Nov. 10. The No. 1-seeded Spartans defeated Interlake 18-3 at Curtis High School.

“We are where we want to be,” coach Kristin Gellert said. “We just need to fine-tune some things and shake off some nerves. We have a couple of big days ahead of us, and we just need to go out there and play as a team and have some fun with it.”

The Spartans scored quickly against Interlake, with Micah Webber hitting the back of the net within the first 30 seconds. RJ Rossart added to the scoreboard soon after with a no-look shot coming off a counterattack.

“We try not just to be quicker in swimming but in reaction,” Gellert said. “It was great that the [counterattack] was effective and paid off.”

Bainbridge began to wreak havoc in front of the goal in the first and second quarters. Finn Miller and JP Tinney both scored three goals from there during that time.

“We have been working a lot on patience and the right time to enter the ball from,” Gellert said. “A big component of our offense is using the clock, being patient and finding the right pass.”

Bainbridge took a 10-2 lead after two quarters. The Spartan offense and defense fell apart in the third period.

“We need to get all the way back on our crashes and drops,” Gellert said. “Interlake’s center-forward was really good. We had two people on him the whole time. We won’t be able to do that against other teams because they will be more dynamic.”

The Spartans only outscored Interlake 2-1 in the third quarter to take a 12-3 lead. However, the Spartans began rolling again in the fourth. Rossart led the fourth-period scoring with two goals.

Bainbridge returns to Curtis Nov. 11-12 to compete in the semifinals and finals. Despite having to travel to Tacoma, Gellert expects a big crowd from BI.

“I know Curtis fans show up when they are at home but we have the best fans in the state easily,” Gellert said. “Our fans against a home team will outnumber them.”

That’s not the only advantage BHS will have. “It’s a much bigger pool, which benefits our speed, too,” the coach said.

Michael Bannister was a brick wall for Bainbridge.

Michael Bannister was a brick wall for Bainbridge.