When you take a road trip to one of the toughest gyms for visiting teams in the Narrows League, a little courage can go a long way.
Such was the case Wednesday night for the Bellarmine Prep Lions, who used big-time shots from senior guard Isaiah Flynn to escape with a 52-51 overtime victory at South Kitsap.
The victory gave Bellarmine sole possession of first place in the Narrows League 4A division, with a 7-1 league record. The Wolves fell into second place, at 5-2.
Bellarmine had the lead from the first basket of the game until late in the fourth quarter — but the Lions never led by more than six points.
South Kitsap finally tied the game with 3 minute, 59 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, when James Hyson scored inside to make it 39-39.
The Wolves moved ahead when Caulin Bakalarski made
a steal in the backcourt and hit a layup for a 47-45 advantage with 40 seconds to play.
With the clock winding down, Flynn came off a high screen and nailed a 3-pointer on the left wing, putting Bellarmine up 48-47 with eight seconds to go.
“He’s a very courageous player,” Bellarmine coach Bernie Salazar said. “It didn’t surprise me that he was willing to take that shot at the end.”
The original play was set to be a pick-and-roll, but nothing developed.
“We had a play, but it didn’t work the first time around, so we brought it back out,” Flynn said. “Sefo (Liufau) set the pick, and we just went off it — it gave me space.”
Flynn’s 3-pointer wasn’t the winner. South Kitsap guard Ryley Callaghan was fouled with 3.3 seconds remaining, but he made just one of two free throws, sending the game into overtime.
Bellarmine nearly pitched a shutout in overtime. The Lions led 51-48 with 10 seconds remaining, but Bakalarski drained a 3-pointer to tie the score.
Flynn struck again, driving the length of the floor and coming to a jump-stop in the lane, where he was fouled with 2.7 seconds showing on the clock. He made one of two shots from the line for the winning edge.
Bellarmine (8-7 overall) split the season series with South Kitsap. The outcome dashed a possible tiebreaker scenario that would have favored South Kitsap, which won at Bellarmine on Dec. 19.
The Lions control their own destiny now. If they win out, they will take the Narrows 4A championship.
“It’s not over by any means,” Salazar said. “There are still four more league games to go.”
Senior forward Lucas Meikle led Bellarmine with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Flynn and Liufau each scored 12 points.
Bakalarski topped South Kitsap (10-5) with 15 points, and Callaghan added 11.