Bellarmine Prep’s dominance over Olympia has now reached a decade.
Sophomore Shalyse Smith scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, Jayana Ervin led all scorers with 20 points and the visiting Lions picked up their 19th consecutive victory over the Bears with a 56-44 triumph in 4A Narrows League girls basketball action on Friday.
Bellarmine (6-5, 5-0 league) jumped on Olympia (8-4, 3-1) early and enjoyed a double-digit lead for most of the contest, seeing the advantage swell to 17 points early in the third quarter before a late rally by the Bears trimmed the deficit to 6 points midway through the fourth quarter.
It was as close as Olympia would get.
“You can’t spot them 16, 18 points and think you’re going to come back and get them,” Olympia coach Jackie Robinson said, “but I do appreciate the fight my team showed at the end. That tells me a lot about where we are headed.”
Jenna Randich paced the Bears with 14 points, but watched the final 5 minutes of the game from the bench after a suffering a nasty-looking fall to the court, injuring her hip.
As Olympia’s leading scorer watched while applying ice, the Bears charged back, pulling within 46-40 on a 3-pointer from Averie Stock with 4:26 to play.
It was just too much Ervin down the stretch as the senior took over after Smith fouled out with under 2 minutes to play.
The rematch will be in Tacoma on Jan. 29. Olympia has not defeated Bellarmine since posting a 50-47 victory on Jan. 13, 2006.
In the previous 18 wins, the Lions usually received big contributions from stellar post players and the 6-foot-1 Smith assumed that role this time around.
The Lions led 31-19 at the half as Smith already had a double-double by the time the intermission hit, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 boards.
“She’s a tough matchup for any team,” Robinson said about Smith. “She’s long and quick and makes good decisions. I thought we did a much better job guarding her in the second half tonight.”
Bellarmine outrebounded the Bears, 21-11, in the first two quarters, including a 10-1 edge on offensive rebounds.
The easy putbacks quickly added up and Olympia was already facing a 10-point deficit midway through the first quarter.
Bellarmine scored the first 5 points of the second half to claim its largest lead of the game at 36-19.
Smith received her fourth foul and exited with 4:35 remaining in the third and the Lions leading 38-26. Olympia, however, was unable to take full advantage of her absence, only managing to cut the deficit to 44-33 after the third quarter.
“I think we went toe-to-toe with them in the second half,” Robinson said. “We learned a lot tonight. I’d like to see the results if we played with the kind of intensity we played with in the second half.”