Securing a postseason berth had already been accomplished before the Olympia High School girls basketball team even stepped onto the court.
What was uncertain was what seed the Bears would take into the district tournament.
Behind the play of Jenna Randich, Olympia inched a little closer to finding out the answer to that question.
In a rare occurrence, Randich came off the bench to score 25 points, and the Bears defeated visiting South Kitsap, 56-42, to pull within one win of wrapping up the Class 4A Narrows League’s third seed Tuesday.
It was one of the few times Randich failed to start during her four-year high school career, a voluntary move by the senior on Olympia’s final regular-season home game.
“She was really classy. I don’t think I’ve had a senior do that before,” Olympia coach Jackie Robinson said. “We have six seniors and she said she didn’t want to start. Some of the other girls had never started before in their high school career and she wanted them to experience that. I think that’s awesome and really telling of what kind of person she is.”
South Kitsap likely wishes Randich had remained on the bench, too, as once she entered the game, she immediately took control of the contest by scoring 11 points in the first quarter and 10 in the third.
“I thought we executed on offense tonight,” Robinson said. “We were able to get our shots. We missed some and we hit some, but we were able to get the looks we wanted.
“We were also able to get out in transition, which was nice to see.”
Olympia (11-8, 7-4 Class 4A Narrows) closes out the regular season Thursday at Timberline. The Blazers sit in the 4A Narrows League’s fourth spot with a league record of 6-5, but could overtake the Bears for the third seed with a victory.
Timberline won the earlier meeting, 51-42, on Jan. 13.
The Bears entered the contest riding a season-high three-game losing streak. The three losses, all on the road with two coming against league foes, were by a combined 10 points.
“It was good to be back home,” Robinson said. “That was a tough road trip. I looked at the schedule earlier in the year and knew it was going to be tough, but we got better because of it. We didn’t win, but we improved each time out. That’s what you want to see with the playoffs coming up.”
Olympia squashed any thoughts of dropping a fourth consecutive heartbreaker by pushing it’s 10-point lead at halftime to 20 points thanks to a big third quarter where Randich score 10 of her team’s 19 points.
South Kitsap (10-9, 5-6) made one brief run and was able to trim the deficit to 49-40 with three minutes to play, but were held scoreless over the next 2 1/2 minutes of play to crush any hopes of completing the comeback.
Randich entered the game midway through the first quarter and immediately established herself as a scoring threat by draining a 3-pointer on her first shot attempt.
She finished with 11 points and hit all three of her 3-point attempts in the opening frame with her last pushing Olympia’s advantage to 14-7.
It was the Bears’ defense which shined early, forcing the Wolves into eight turnovers in the game’s first five minutes.
Carly Carlson’s 3-pointer late in the second quarter doubled up South Kitsap, 22-11, before Olympia took a 24-14 lead into the intermission.
A dreadful shooting display from the free-throw line by the Wolves contributed to the double-digit deficit at the half as South Kitsap missed its first eight free throw attempts.
Randich was the only Olympia player to score in double figures, but a total of 10 players scored for the Bears with Carlson adding eight points.