High School Sports

Bellarmine Prep claws past Gig Harbor to win 4A Narrows League tournament title

Compared to most fan-made signs this one was rather subtle — basic black maker printed on white paper.

Every so often the sign would rise up out of the Bellarmine Prep student section. It’s message was simple, but 100 percent accurate.

It read: “This is our league.”

Odds are few in attendance disputed that statement even prior to the start of the match, but if there were any doubters, Bellarmine’s volleyball team provided more than enough proof to support the sign’s claim.

The Lions, the two-time defending Class 4A state champions, continued their league dominance, defeating a game Gig Harbor squad in straight sets 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 in the finals of the Class 4A Narrows League tournament Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School.

“I told the girls right after the match, ‘Welcome to the playoffs,’ ” Bellarmine coach Jody DeGroot said. “Gig Harbor keeps getting better every time we play them. We didn’t pass really well tonight, but our big players stepped it up at the end.”

Reghan Pukis, who was announced as league MVP prior to the match, finished with 15 kills and three aces for the Lions.

Bellarmine, which went 12-0 in league play during the regular season, also received 16 digs from McKenzie Schwan and five blocks from Claire Martin.

Both squads advance to the Class 4A West Central District tournament, which begins Friday at Kentwood High School.

The top-seeded Lions will face the No. 10 seed from the 4A South Puget Sound League at 4:15 p.m. Gig Harbor takes the league’s second seed into its first-round match against the SPSL’s eighth seed.

The teams went back and forth in the first set until the Lions used a 6-0 run to grab a 17-13 lead and a Schwan kill ended the set, 25-19.

The second set opened in similar fashion to the first with the teams knotted at nine.

Kills from Megan Jacobsen, Reghan Pukis and Hannah Pukis combined with an ace from Maddie Babcock pushed the Bellarmine lead to 18-13. However, unlike the first set, the Tides rallied and grabbed a 22-21 lead on an ace from Katelyn Poitras.

In the end it was just too much Reghan Pukis down the stretch as the senior chipped in three late kills before a Jacobsen kill ended the set, 25-23.

Powered by a trio of early kills from Poitras, Gig Harbor jumped out to a 14-5 lead in the third set.

Four consecutive kills from four different players helped the Lions get back into the set and Martin’s block tied the set at 16.

Bellarmine’s depth was on full display towards the end of the match with Jacobsen, Schwan and Hannah Pukis contributing kills as the Lions closed out the set on a 5-1 run.

Olympia 3, Timberline 2 (third-place): Hannah Adams posted a match-high 26 kills and Julia Fleener handed out 58 assists to help the Bears earn the league’s No. 3 seed with a thrilling 21-25, 25-14, 22-25, 27-25, 18-16 victory over the Blazers.

“The big thing for us was how we bounced back after the way the third set ended,” Olympia coach Laurie Creighton said. “We did a lot of things right those last two sets.”

Timberline used an 8-0 run to take a 13-4 lead in the third set and held a 19-11 advantage before the Bears rallied to close within two points at 24-22.

A service error from Olympia’s Lydia Soto ended the set, giving the Blazers a 25-22 victory.

Soto didn’t have to wait very long to redeem herself as she closed out the fourth set with back-to-back aces to give the Bears a 27-25 win, evening the set’s at two apiece.

The fifth set featured 10 ties and ended on Adams’ final kill of the match.

“We had too many unforced errors tonight,” Timberline coach Krista Manke said. “We’ve had a few matches like that this year. It’s something we need to focus on cleaning up before districts.”

The Blazers will be the league’s fourth seed into next week’s Class 4A West Central District tournament.

Jona Spiller paced the Bears with 25 digs, while teammate Maddy Reeves had six blocks.

Molly Emmons and Emily Tate both had 14 kills for the Blazers, who also received 33 digs from Brianna Honc and 30 assists from Natalie Stark.

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