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BOYS BASKETBALL: KR's Bell rings up SPSL record 55 points
Kentridge High's Gary Bell shot himself into the record books Tuesday night.
Bell, a junior guard for the basketball team and one of the state's top-recruited players, went off for 55 points in a 93-82 double-overtime lost to Auburn Riverside in a South Puget Sound League North Division game.
Bell not only established a new school record, but a league record as well.
Curtis High's Isaiah Thomas, who now plays for the University of Washington, held the previous mark of 52 points, which he did against Puyallup in 2005.
"I didn't think I had that many points," said Bell, who is currently being recruited by Gonzaga, Washington, California and Arizona State among others. "I didn't know until after the game when my teammates told me. I was like, 'Wow.'"
Bell's 55 points were more than four other SPSL teams put up Tuesday night, however, it remains bittersweet for the junior.
"I definitely would have liked to have won more than scoring all the points," he said. "Now, we just have to fight harder in league. It hurt that we lost."
Bell's previous high this season came in the opener against Kentlake, when he scored 30 points. His previous personal best was 45, which he accomplished in junior high school. The sharpshooting junior averaged 18.9 points per game last year and led the Chargers to a third-place state finish.
Through five games this winter, Bell is leading the SPSL in scoring with a 27.8 per-game average.
The difference between this year and last year?
"He's bigger and stronger," said Kentridge coach Dave Jamison. "He's learning how to create his own shot."
Of Bell's 55 points, 4 came in the first quarter, 19 in the second, 3 in the third and 29 in the fourth quarter and two overtimes combined. He connected on 10 of 20 from the field, 6 of 13 from 3-point land and 17 of 20 from the free-throw line. He added five steals, two assists and committed just one turnover.
The rest of the Kentridge lineup connected on 10 of 29 shots.
In a league deep on talent, is Bell the best player in the North?
“Overall, maybe," Jamison said. "If you combine offense and defense, I would say yes. I would say there are some more polished offensive players and players who might be able to penetrate better than Gary, but I don't think anybody can touch him defensively. That's why the college coaches like him so much, he doesn't have any weaknesses."
Along with the league record, Bell also broke the school's record of points in a game, previously held by Joey Henley. Henley scored 41 points in a 62-59 loss to Kent-Meridian on Jan. 17, 2003. Henley, a three-sport standout, went on to star at Sacred Heart University in basketball and football.
"I made a goal before the year that I wanted to break the (school) record, but I didn't know it would come like this," Bell said. "My teammates were struggling to hit their shots, so I just kept shooting to keep us in the game. In the end, unfortunately, (Auburn Riverside) had a little bit more than us."
THE TOP 10
Below is a look at the 10 highest point totals for an individual in South Puget Sound League history.
NAME YEAR POINTS OPPONENT
1. Gary Bell, Kentridge 2009 55 Auburn Riverside
2. Isaiah Thomas, Curtis 2005 52 Puyallup
3. Mike Dickerson, Federal Way 1994 47 Decatur
4. Terrell Smith, Federal Way 2006 44 Kent-Meridian
5. Dave Hunter, Jefferson 1970 43 Lakes
6. Rod Tripp, Franklin Pierce 1979 43 Rogers
7. Damon Huard, Puyallup 1990 43 Kentridge
8. Josh Smith, Kentwood 2008 43 Kentridge
9. Brandon Smith, A. Riverside 2003 43 Sumner
10. Hans Woldsmith, Washington 1970 42 Puyallup