Tuesday, July 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

Bellarmine Prep uses fast start to cruise over South Kitsap

// Holmes, Ervin, Martin all in double figures for Lions

Judging by their offensive efficiency and tenacious defense, Bellarmine Prep looks to be a contender again in the Narrows 4A girls basketball race. Led by senior guard Jasmyne Holmes, who finished with a game-high 20 points, the Lions jumped out to a big lead early and coasted late for a 54-34 win over South Kitsap at home on Dec. 17.

“I think we have really good communication on defense and offense as well,” said Holmes, who finished 8-for-11 from the field. “I just think we play really great as a team and work really well with each other.”

The Lions jumped out to a 6-2 lead just over a minute into the game when Kelsy McElroy found Holmes for a back-door layup. Shelby Gavigan fed Claire Martin for a layup two minutes later, Holmes followed with a three-pointer, and Jayana Ervin converted a three-point play midway through the quarter to quickly make it 14-4.

“They’re a good team,” said Lions head coach Kevin Meines of South Kitsap, “and they do a lot of good things that we were able to take them out of. I thought we came out intense and ready to play. Those first four minutes we really took them out of what they wanted to do.”

But the Wolves clawed back to within 18-13 at the end of the first quarter on a three-pointer by Gabrielle Stewart, who finished with a team-high 13 points. Brianna Shafer closed South Kitsap to within 22-19 with a put-back with 3:20 until halftime, but McElroy finished a 7-2 run by finding Ervin for a back-door layup with 10 seconds until the break to make it 29-21.

“We’re trying to use what teams do against them,” Meines said. “We knew they were going to get out and pressure us a little bit, so we were like ‘Hey, if you’re being overplayed, look at that back door.’ This group is really good at working together. They do a nice job of finding each other.”

Holmes helped the Lions maintain a healthy lead in the third quarter, nailing her second three-pointer of the game at the 5:19 to make it 36-24. She was the beneficiary of steals by Ervin and Claire Martin in the late stages of the period, converting both into breakaway layups to give the Lions their largest lead to that point, at 42-29.

Ervin was all over the floor for the Lions, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds, three steals and four assists. Martin finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Gavigan tallied six points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Lions improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Narrows 4A, and will have a bit of a break before heading out east to take on Wenatchee on Dec. 27 and Eastmont on Dec. 28 in