In the first quarter, Bellarmine Prep’s passes inside were finding junior Christian Moore, a 6-foot-6 forward with hops, and he was finishing with a flair.
After 12 first-quarter points and the opening bucket of the second period, Moore wouldn’t score again until late in the third quarter. By then, however, Malachi Flynn had heated up, and the Lions rode their senior leader to a 76-53 home victory over Timberline.
Flynn’s 28 points led the 3A Narrows’ top team (14-3 overall, 9-0 league), but it was the way the Lions beat early double-teams on Flynn that bought time.
“He (Flynn) would swing it, and somebody would pop it to me and I’d get an easy layup,” said Moore, who finished with a season-high 23 points.
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Timberline (11-6, 7-3 Narrows) hung close through most of three quarters, but couldn’t match Bellarmine’s second-half intensity.
“They’re a tough team, talented, well-coached,” Bellarmine coach Bernie Salazar said. “We battled, we persevered. League play is very tough — anybody can beat anybody on a given night. You gotta find a way.”
Joey Bodoia, a 6-3 junior guard, had assists on three of Moore’s baskets in the first quarter, after which the Lions led 21-14. Bodoia played through foul trouble (four first-half fouls) to finish with 13 points.
Six straight second-quarter points by Flynn — three on free throws after a foul behind the arc and an old-fashioned three-point play — pushed Bellarmine to its biggest lead of the first half at 33-22.
But Austin Curry (19 points) and Eli Morton led Timberline on an 11-2 run before Lions freshman Charles Elzie hit a 3-pointer close to the halftime buzzer to give Bellarmine a 38-33 lead.
Flynn had two 3-pointers among his eight third-quarter points, and a Moore rebound basket earned a 14-point Bellarmine lead that Blazers sophomore Erik Stevenson trimmed to 52-42 with two late buckets. Stevenson finished with 10 points.
Flynn tallied nine points as the Lions closed the game with a 24-9 rush.
Up next for Bellarmine is a top-tier showdown at Olympia, which beat Gig Harbor Friday to improve to 8-1 in Narrows play. Timberline visits Stadium on Feb. 2.