Seventh grader Tyrah Baron cuts to the basket during Wednesday’s victory over Bandon Middle School. Baron came off the bench to give the Bruins seven points. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Winning ways continued for the Azalea Middle School girls basketball teams. The latest victims were the Gold Beach Panthers and the Bandon Tigers.
As it has all season, seventh grade Head Coach Kristy Kleespies’ run-and-gun offense continued at full speed as the Bruins routed Gold Beach, 58-17, and Bandon, 63-28.
“Sometimes we get rather lax,” Kleespies said. “We just want to play to the level of our competition.”
That was evident at Gold Beach last Tuesday as the Bruins found themselves ahead by only six at the half.
“We were not focused,” Kleespies said.
Their focus got clearer in the second half, running around and through the Lady Panthers, outscoring their hosts 36 to 20 to win on the road.
Eleven of the girls got in the scoring column, led by Joci Kay with 10 points.
The girls came back home 24 hours later and ran their current winning streak to five as they shut down the taller, but slower, Bandon Tigers, 63-28.
Azalea (7-1) showed all in attendance what good ball handling and hustle can achieve.
The Lady Bruins raced to a 19-2 lead at the end of the first quarter on their way to a 27-8 halftime lead.
The terrific inside-outside tandem of Brooklyn Hiller and Luka Frazier were too much for Bandon. Hiller was outstanding inside, pumping in 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
The diminutive Frazier added 14 along with six stunning assists.
Tyrah Baron came off the bench, to put in seven points, capped by a three-pointer at the 5:25 mark of the third quarter.
Nine of the 10 roster players scored, showing good team balance. The only drawback to the evening was the five of 15 made from the free throw line.
The same formula that worked so well for the seventh graders showed up in the eighth-grade game.
Led by the outstanding quickness at both ends of the floor by Drew Farmer, the taller Tigers never got into a rhythm as the game was basically over at the half.
Farmer’s 18 points along with the great inside work of Courtney Bay, 19 points, paced the four-quarter attack as seven of the girls scored.
Guards Cassidy Chandler, eight points, and Hanna Leonard, four points, continually harassed the Tigers into turnovers.
As a team, Azalea shot 40 percent (27 of 66) from the field and six of 11 (54 percent) from the free-throw line.
Both teams traveled to Fortuna for a two-day tournament culminating in today’s (Nov. 19) championship games.
The teams will be home on Tuesday to host Redwood Middle School and again on Nov. 29 to host North Bend. Both games are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.