During my two-and-a-half years as the Gateway's sports editor, I've done a lot of things, but believe it or not, I hadn't been to a Bellarmine Prep-Gig Harbor High boys basketball game.
That changed Tuesday night, as I was part of the mob scene at Gig Harbor's John Gorrow Gymnasium. Fans of both schools were loud and proud, and the visiting Lions used key performances from senior stars Isaiah Flynn and Lucas Meikle to walk away with a 55-41 victory.
Gig Harbor put forth a solid performance, but couldn't get the key stops or baskets it needed to spring the upset. Even though the Tides are winless in four games, senior guard Jared Murphy didn't seem overly disappointed afterward.
“That was the first league game, and we wanted to win, but we’re coming together as a team, and I think each game we’ll progress and get better.”
Here are a few photos from Tuesday's game, along with the recap that will appear in the Gateway's Dec. 19 print issue. Gig Harbor will try to pick up its first win of the season Friday when it visits Central Kitsap, and we'll have some details on that game, too.
When opponents look at the Bellarmine Prep Lions boys basketball team, they understand the two most dangerous weapons are guard Isaiah Flynn and forward Lucas Meikle.
The Gig Harbor Tides knew plenty about Flynn and Meikle going into the Class 4A Narrows League opener on Tuesday, but executing a game plan to stop them didn’t quite pan out.
With the 6-foot-9, Gonzaga University-bound Meikle saddled with foul trouble in the third quarter, Flynn stepped forward and took the lead.
Flynn hit a pair of 3-pointers to push the Lions’ lead into double digits, and Meikle returned to the court with a fourth-quarter flourish, leading Bellarmine to a 55-41 victory at Gig Harbor High’s John Gorrow Gymnasium.
Meikle was called for charging midway through the third period, and went to the bench with his fourth foul. Trailing by five, it was a golden opportunity for Gig Harbor to take the lead.
“We got him out of the game; that was good for us,” said Gig Harbor senior Jared Murphy. “We did a good job of picking up their other guys, their bench players, their other big man.”
But the Tides left openings for Flynn, who sank 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Lions a 35-24 lead. Gig Harbor never got closer than six the rest of the way.
Flynn, who scored a game-high 18 points, recognized his time to shine.
“I was just thinking ... I should try to stay aggressive, get good shots,” he said, “but not just me particularly shooting the ball, just getting teammates involved, driving and kicking it out to them, and making sure we don’t have any drop-down.”
Murphy was part of a strong start for Gig Harbor (0-4 overall, 0-1 league). He scored seven of his 12 points in the first quarter as the Tides forged a 13-13 tie.
Tides forward Jared Anderson used his 6-7 frame to neutralize Meikle in the first half, and the Lions' star had only four points at the break.
Murphy’s 3-point play with 5 minutes, 4 seconds left trimmed the Tides’ deficit to 40-34, but Bellarmine responded with a 10-0 spurt.
Anderson, who led Gig Harbor with 14 points, picked up his fourth foul with 4:10 to play, and Meikle took charge. He drilled a 3-pointer late in the shot clock, then converted a 3-point play that started with a quality up-and-under move in the post.
Meikle scored 10 of his 16 points in the final five minutes.
Gig Harbor’s schedule through four games is partially to blame for its 0-4 record. Mount Tahoma, Wilson, Lincoln and Bellarmine are all quality teams.
“We’ve had a very, very tough schedule, but I think that’s good for us in a way,” Murphy said. “It helps us when we play the teams we know we can beat. We go out there and execute well.”
Bellarmine (1-2, 1-0) was coming off losses to Seattle Prep and Mercer Island to start the season, and the victory provided a good morale boost, Flynn said.
The Lions finished fifth at last year’s state tournament, and they’re hoping to do even better come March.
“We want to win state,” Flynn said. “I don’t want to beat around the bush. That’s one of our goals.
“Last year, we came close and didn’t get it. We still have that taste in our mouths, and we don’t like that, so we’re trying to get back there again and win it this time.”
Gig Harbor will try to exact revenge on its rival when it visits Bellarmine Feb. 1.
“Bellarmine’s always been kind of a tough team to beat,” Murphy said. “This was kind of our night, but at least we get another shot at beating them this season.”