Bellingham won the spirit competition, but it was the Sehome girls and boys basketball teams that won the games that counted at the fourth annual BellingHome Battle on Friday, Dec. 20.
The Sehome girls used their height advantage to blow open the night’s opening game in the third quarter and coast to a 47-33 victory over their city rivals.
In a carbon copy of the girls game, the Sehome boys used their height advantage to take control early and hold off the cold-shooting Red Raiders, 51-30.
The Bellingham fans — as well as their cheer staff, dance team, leadership class and drum line — can take solace in reclaiming the trophy that goes to the school that shows the most spirit during the evening.
Of course, there were no losers when it came to both schools showing spirit in the packed and deafening Bellingham gym.
Be watching our Whatcom Hoops Facebook page for lots of pictures from both games and the exciting spirit competition.
Sehome 47, Bellingham 33
The biggest player made the biggest impact as 6-foot-2 junior center Aspen Garrison dominated inside with 22 points, 16 of them coming in the first half as the Mariners (2-0 in Northwest Conference, 6-1 overall) took a double-digit lead.
But it was the third quarter that doomed the Red Raiders (0-2 in league, 4-3 overall). Sehome scored 15 of the first 17 points after halftime to go up 43-19 with 2:20 left in the third.
The lead was big enough — and Sehome’s defense dominating enough — that the game was never in doubt even though the Mariners only scored one point in the fourth period.
“We came so ready to play,” said Garrison. “Our shots were falling this game, and that gave us momentum. Our focus is to get better and it showed between the two games (Sehome’s 6-point win over Bellingham in both team’s season opener).”
Junior point guard Kaylee Wilson and 6-foot senior post Mikayla Wefer each had 9 points, but it was the defense play of the whole team — and especially senior Jessica Melvin and sophomore Ava Lunny — that had Sehome coach Anye Turner excited.
“Defensively, we did a good job on Alexa (Mee) and Adi (McKay),” said Turner. “They are really good players. But today we attacked the paint and dominated the boards. And when we shoot like that, it makes me look a lot smarter.”
Mee led Bellingham with 16 points, but she was the only Raider with more than five points.
“I’m proud of the individual effort by Lexi Mee, who led us both on offense and defense all night as she has been all season long,” said Bellingham coach Michael Russo.
“Hats off to Sehome, which came out shooting the ball really well. As we look at the big picture, though, I’m proud of the direction we are heading as a program.”
Sehome 51, Bellingham 30
With Bellingham having a freezing cold shooting night, Sehome (2-0 in league, 3-4 overall) led by 15 in the third quarter and avenged its season-opening loss to Bellingham (0-2 in league, 2-4 overall).
“In that first game, they had 23 more field goal (attempts) than we did,” said Sehome coach Skyler Gillespie. “So our effort (tonight) was on the boards and to play better defense. Tonight, we made plays that we hadn’t been making before.”
Junior Micah Daheim led a balanced Sehome attack with 14 points, all in the second half. Junior Jake Ortega added 13 points and dominated inside, senior Nick McPhee ran the offense and had 9 points, and junior Elliott Tanovan had a good all-around game, including 9 points.
Colm Schaefer, one of the best shooters in the league, had an off night from the field but still led Bellingham with 17 points. Unfortunately for the Raiders, only five players scored and Trevor Johnson was the next highest with 6 points.
“We can’t be competitive shooting like that,” said Bellingham coach Brad McKay, whose squad only managed nine points in the first half. “We’ve struggled to score (this year). Colm can’t do it by himself.”
The Raiders had one more run midway through the final period, twice cutting the margin to 10. But Daheim hit a driving layup and Ortega took a steal in for a layup to end the threat.
“Everybody contributed today,” said Daheim, one of only two Mariners who saw varsity action last year. “We’re working hard on defense and just starting to play together.”
And does this feel good going into the Christmas break?
“It feels a lot better than losing,” said Daheim.