Third-quarter buzzer-beater helps Bellarmine beat Gig Harbor

Boys basketball: Lions take advantage of first-half turnovers to pick up Narrows League win

of the GatewayDecember 25, 2013 

TACOMA — The Gig Harbor Tides fought their way back into the game Saturday night and got within three points with Chris Drake’s reverse layup on the road against Bellarmine Prep.

But Bellarmine’s Carson Hollyoak hit a half-court shot that beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter, and the Lions rode the momentum to a 59-49 Narrows League victory.

It was that type of night for the Tides — close, but not close enough.

“That hurt, because they got the ball in the fourth quarter and scored,” Gig Harbor head coach Billy Landram said of the buzzer-beater. “So it went from three (points) to eight in like six seconds.

“That’s part of playing on the road,” he said. “That’s what the kids have to overcome to make sure we’re not in that position.”

Bellarmine’s Mar’Kese Jackson tallied 16 points to lead the Lions. Landram said Gig Harbor could have done a better job containing him.

“I thought we did OK (guarding Jackson),” Landram said. “I don’t think we were really great in any aspect. We played hard, but we could execute better.”

The Tides switched to a 2-3 zone defense after halftime, hoping to slow down the Bellarmine offense, which found many open looks in the key.

Gig Harbor often switched back and forth between the zone and man-to-man, trying to find the right combination.

“They’re really aggressive in their dribble drive, spreading the floor, so we were just trying to switch it up, give them a different look, maybe slow them down a little bit,” Landram said. “It worked at times, but we just didn’t want to stay in one thing for the whole game.”

Gig Harbor junior forward Casey Gearhart scored 14 points to lead Tides and attacked Bellarmine’s defense throughout the night. He said he approached the game with a different mindset than in the past.

“Usually, I wasn’t as aggressive,” Gearhart said. “I just thought to myself before the game, ‘Just come out and play strong.’ ”

Gearhart and Landram both pointed to rebounding as a problem, as Bellarmine pounded the offensive glass. The Tides also committed several first-half turnovers, which put them in a hole to start the third quarter.

“Those pretty much killed us in the end,” Gearhart said. “That’s a lot of possessions we didn’t get back and score on offense.”

The league loss stung, but the Tides were ready to move on after the game.

“They’re a good team,” Gearhart said. “I just think we need to focus on our next opponent and come out strong next game and just play hard.”

Landram said there are no guarantees in basketball.

“Winning on the road isn’t easy,” he said. “Just playing hard doesn’t guarantee a win. You have to execute when you play other good teams.”

Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at jon.manley@gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.

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