Bellarmine Prep didn’t get hot until late in the game, but it was enough to claim a 59-54 overtime victory over Olympia on Monday night.
Better yet for the Lions, the victory sealed up the Narrows League 4A championship.
The Lions (12-7 overall, 10-1 Narrows 4A) will be the No. 1 seed out of the Narrows League when the West Central District playoffs begin next week.
The Bears (12-7 overall, 5-6 Narrows) nearly pulled off the upset, holding a 45-39 lead with 1 minute, 7 seconds to play before the Lions started making 3-pointers.
Isaiah Flynn hit a pair in the final minute, helping Bellarmine Prep narrow the deficit to 48-45 with 22 seconds to go. Flynn finished with 18 points.
On the final possession, Flynn and Carson Hollyoak each missed 3-pointers but the Lions were able to corral offensive rebounds.
Eventually Lucas Meikle made a tying 3-pointer from the left corner with 3.2 seconds remaining. The Gonzaga recruit was fouled on the play but missed the free throw, sending the game into overtime.
“That guy fell on top of me, and it went in,” Meikle said. “I was real excited. We tried to get a 3 off, and we found one in the corner.”
Once the game was in overtime, the Lions rolled.
Hollyoak, Flynn, and Meikle each scored as Bellarmine reeled off seven consecutive points to open overtime. Meikle finished with 23 points to lead all scorers.
Bellarmine Prep has won 10 consecutive games to defend its Narrows League title.
“The last time we did it here at Bellarmine was 45 years ago,” Lions coach Bernie Salazar said of repeating a basketball title. “That tells you how difficult it is. There are a lot of good teams in Tacoma and in the Narrows League.”
Olympia still has a chance to advance to the district tournament.
The Bears play host to Central Kitsap on Wednesday in a game that will determine the fourth and final Narrows League entry.
“Olympia is a good team,” Salazar said. “If they get into the playoffs, they’ll be a scary team that can beat you.”
Olympia has more size than Bellarmine Prep, and the Bears played a methodical style with a lot of zone defense in order to take advantage of it.
Michael Naipo led Olympia with 11 points, and Brendan Leonard scored 10.
For much of the game, it appeared Olympia was in the driver’s seat.
The Bears never led by more than eight points, and Bellarmine Prep was eventually able to pull off the comeback.
“We knew what the stakes were,” Meikle said. “We weren’t going to give up on anything.”