Sara Bowen displayed a bit of everything for fans inside Timberline High School’s gymnasium in the Blazers’ 56-49 4A Narrows girls basketball win over Gig Harbor on Friday night, and she did it early.
Her game-high 27 points, including 11 of 13 from the free-throw line, is a career high for the sharp-shooting junior guard. She had key steals and assists and even a memorable effort to save a ball from going out of bounds, finding teammate Callan Russell in time for Russell to sink a running 10-foot floater in the lane as the first-quarter clock expired.
All in a game’s work, as the Blazers improved to 4-1 overall.
Normally a shooter who says the third quarter is her time, Bowen excelled for most of the first half. She had 18 of the Blazers’ 33 points for a 33-26 halftime lead over the Tides.
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“This game,” Bowen said, “I really focused on coming out fast.”
She certainly did.
The game didn’t get off to the swiftest of starts, though. Gig Harbor and Timberline were whistled for 14 first-quarter fouls, and Timberline reached the double bonus with 2 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Bowen made two trips to the free-throw line to put Timberline up 26-20, then 28-20.
While the newly reclassified Blazers are off to a 2-0 start in league play and looking to make a statement fresh up from the 3A Narrows, looming is a home date with power Bellarmine, a game Bowen and her teammates know they’re ready for this year.
“(Bellarmine) is the best team in this league, and we want to come out and prove ourselves,” she said.
Once Russell picked up her fourth foul not long into the third quarter, the Blazers’ offense struggled. That’s when Gig Harbor (2-2, 0-2) took advantage of the Blazers’ sudden lack of size and athleticism in the interior, leading to numerous second-chance opportunities and pulling within two to start the fourth. Bowen hit Timberline’s only two field goals of the third — both coming in the final 1:11.
Once Russell returned with seven minutes left in the game, everything changed. She scored 11 of her 21 points in the final quarter, including six straight points. Her bucket inside three minutes left stretched the Blazers’ lead to 51-44.
Sydney Bertholf led the Tides with 16 points.