There was more on the minds of the Olympia High Bears than simply playing a basketball game Friday night.
The Bears’ focus and emotions during their Narrows 4A League boys game between league co-leaders Bellarmine Prep was shifted toward Todd McDougall. A standing room-only crowd packed Chick Rockey Gymnasium in support of “Light Blue-out Night” for McDougall, an English teacher and baseball coach who was diagnosed with malignant brain tumor last month.
The Bears wanted to win badly for McDougall, and in spite it being a two- to three-possession game for most of the night, Bellarmine Prep pulled away in the final two minutes for a 43-33 victory over Olympia.
The loss is the Bears’ third in a row and drops them into fifth place at 2-3 in league play and 8-3 overall. They are a half-game behind Central Kitsap for fourth place, and that’s also the team’s next opponent Wednesday.
Fans donned the specialized light blue McDougall T-shirts and a brief ceremony took place between the first and second quarters. Football coach Bill Beattie read a statement prepared by the family, thanking community members their outpouring of support. Although McDougall himself was not in attendance, members of his family were, including his three children – 11-year-old daughter Marlee and 9-year-old twin sons, Andrew and Dylan.
Senior Michael Champlin, who finished with nine points, called the game “extra special.”
“We were all out here for him,” Champlin said. “He’s going through a lot right now, and we all know him and care about him.”
Champlin and fellow senior Michael Naipo finished with nine points apiece.
Bellarmine Prep (5-7 overall, 4-1 league) relied heavily on its outside shooting, led by Isaiah Flynn’s game-high 12 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Sefo Liufau had 11 points and Gonzaga signee Lucas Meikle was held to just one field goal and seven points.
The Lions went on a 6-1 run late in the fourth quarter, capped by Mark’kese Jackson’s layin, to grab a 36-27 lead with 1:44 remaining.