No matter the sport, physicality seems to be a factor of every game between Bellarmine Prep and Olympia. And there was no exception on Jan. 11, as the Lady Lions survived 24 foul calls against them and beat the Lady Bears 55-42 to remain atop the Narrows 4A standings.
“This was really an ugly game,” said Lady Lions coach Kevin Meines, who saw his team dominate and then struggle late in the game. “We need to become more consistent really soon.”
After a slow first quarter by both teams, Bellarmine turned up the heat on the defensive end – holding the Lady Bears to just four second-quarter points – while Claire Martin took over in the paint for eight points in the period as the Lions took a 28-13 halftime lead.
“Olympia is a tough team that always gives us fits,” Meines said. “We responded well in the second quarter.”
A different Lady Bears team emerged in the second half, however; one that Meines’ fully expected to see earlier. “Their defensive intensity really picked up, and the game became much more physical because of it,” he said.
Nursing a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, things heated up just a little bit on both sides as Bellarmine’s Jasmyne Holmes caught Olympia’s Jenna Randich with an elbow as the two were battling for a loose ball.
“It was an unfortunate incident, but sometimes in the heat of battle these things happen, and we hope that Jenna will be okay,” Meines said.
That seemed to inspire Olympia, as the Bears would shortly slice the Bellarmine lead in half. But after a timeout, the Lady Lions would put the pedal to the metal to extend the lead to 14 points, and from that point they would never be threatened.
“The coaching staff was very proud of the way the girls responded after the unfortunate incident,” Meines said. “They focused and closed the game out from there. They really battled down the stretch.”
Senior Ionna Price led the Lady Lions with 16 points, while fellow senior Sydney Swofford added 14 points for Bellarmine.
“We have a very experienced team with a senior class that has been there before,” Meines said. “Once the underclassmen begin to become acclimated we should be in good shape as district play fast approaches.”
With a 5-0 record in the league, the Lions next play at Stadium on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.
By Steve Mullen