The Sumner Spartans needed a win Tuesday against Fife, so they knew they had to do things differently against their league rival.
When the two teams met on Jan. 3, Trojans big man Kaleb McGary had his way with the Spartans and led his team to victory.
On Tuesday at Sumner High School, things were different.
The Spartans held McGary in check, and Sumner prevailed with a 49-42 victory.
McGary finished with 16 points, but 10 of them came in the fourth quarter while Fife was frantically trying to erase a 13-point deficit.
McGary faced a different defense this time.
“We doubled him, tripled him, sometimes quadruple,” said Sumner coach Brett McDaniel. “Last time we played him straight up, and he ate us alive.”
The plan worked. Sumner held Fife to just five points in the second quarter, taking a nine-point lead into halftime.
After intermission, Sumner junior Riley Bruil scored five quick points as the Spartans opened a double-digit lead.
Bruil went 3-for-7 on 3-pointers and led all scorers with 17 points.
“My teammates were hitting me, and I was wide open so I had to stroke it,” Bruil said.
With Washington State University football coach Mike Leach watching from the stands, the 6-foot-8 offensive line recruit McGary started taking over in the fourth quarter.
McGary used size and brute strength to pull down offensive rebounds and score putbacks, cutting Fife’s deficit to five points with 1:11 left.
Fife began fouling to try to draw closer, but the Spartans went 6-for-8 from the free throw line over the final 64 seconds to secure the victory.
Bruil was 3-for-4 during this stretch, going to the line in one-and-one situations twice.
“Coach has us do one-and-one situations 10 times every practice,” said Bruil. “I was confident going up there and knocking them down.”
Sumner’s win snapped a three-way tie for first place in the 2A SPSL.
Sumner (11-6, 9-2 2A SPSL) now leads Fife (13-4, 8-3) by a game but remains tied with White River, also 9-2.
Sumner has a visit to White River remaining on the schedule, as well as a potentially tough home game with Clover Park.
Fife has a friendlier remaining schedule: three consecutive home games, with Steilacoom providing the toughest matchup.