Bainbridge tops the WS Wildcats in tight game

By Jeremy Martin

As the ball worked its way around the perimeter Oskar Deithrich muscled his way underneath, eventually receiving a pass on the left block. With grace and power the big man turned towards the rim and laid in two of his team high 19 points.

The junior center would follow that basket with another layup on the ensuing possession and Bainbridge High would ride the big man to a 70-64 come from behind victory over West Seattle on Tuesday night.

“Bainbridge is a really gritty team, they make you work every possession. We talked about being disciplined for four quarters and I think it came down to a little bit of grit and the rebounding edge,” West Seattle head coach Keffery Fazio said.

There are a few hard and fast rules when it comes to winning basketball games; strong defense leads to opportunities on offense, never foul a three point shooter and the team that gets out rebounded rarely comes away victorious, all lessons the Wildcats learned the hard way last night against a much taller, and in many ways more aggressive Bainbridge club.

“I’ll be interested to see what the film has to tell us,” Fazio said. “We had a tough time boarding with them. In the second half it was obvious they wanted the ball more and it cost us the game.”

Despite a game high 31 points from senior Deandre Love, a 37-29 rebounding deficit would turn out to play large as the Wildcats gave up a slew of second chance points, points that would ultimately decide West Seattle’s fate.

For Love It began with a slicing layup, continued with a rebound and put-back to close out the first half and didn’t end until the buzzer sounded on a gut wrenching loss to the still unbeaten Spartans.

“He’s an exceptional talent, there’s no question about that, Deandre is an exceptional athlete,” Fazio said.

Love’s heroic play nearly acted as the catalyst for West Seattle’s first league victory, but it was reserve guard Andre Moore who could have turned out to be the unlikely hero.

The junior came off the bench late in the second quarter to drain a three pointer giving the Wildcats its first lead of the night at 30-28; a lead it would hold until Dietrich’s layup with 1:48 remaining in the game.

“The special thing about our team is we have the luxury of guys coming in and putting up points quick. It’s a tough job coming off the bench, but I’m asking these guys to try to really embrace that. The great teams in this league, the teams that go to districts and move on, they’re really a united team.”
Andre can definitely do that for us,” Fazio said.

Despite amassing only six points and five rebounds, freshman point guard Nate Prior efficiently ran the team from the backcourt, acting as a steadying force during a game that tested the will of even the cagiest veteran.

His three pointer with just under four minutes remaining in the game gave the Wildcats a four point lead and helped to break a Brainbridge run that had brought the Spartans back to within a single point.

“He’s a really special kid, he has what it takes to really go as high as he wants to go. His court demeanor; his feel for the game, for a fourteen year old kid is kind of remarkable. One thing we’re going to have to do, and it’s tough for a fourteen year old, is to embrace that leadership role,” Fazio said.

Ruslan Burduzha was masterful defensively for the wildcats, picking up two key steals and three monster blocks while also netting 12 points.

The Spartans lone senior, Joey Blacker had 15 points and 7 rebounds while Ben Beatie had 7 points and 6 rebounds for Bainbridge.

West Seattle’s next league game comes following the New Year when the Wildcats take on Chief Sealth.

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