Eighth grader Hannah Leonard drives to the basket in Thursday game against Redwood Middle School. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Outside was cold and rainy – inside the Azalea Middle School girls basketball teams were as hot as can be.
The Riley Creek Cubs and the Driftwood Eagles came away feeling the fangs and claws of the 2011 Bruins.
Coach Kristy Kleespies’ charges jumped out to an 18-4 first quarter lead and never looked back in throttling the Cubs 56-10.
“This year we have good height, ball handlers, and speed,” Kleespies said. “We are looking to have a good season.”
The Bruins showed a balanced scoring attack as nine of the 10 girls on the roster scored. Guard Tyra Baron led all scorers with 12 points, followed by eight each from Kylie Johnson, Joslyn Kay, and Brooklyn Hiller.
“This was a good game for all of the girls to get some playing time,” added Coach Kleespies.
Hiller and Sienna Worthy were dominant on the boards, grabbing eight and seven rebounds respectively.
In their second game of the round-robin format, Azalea again relied on their speed at the guard position and an overall height advantage to down the Driftwood Eagles by a 54-9 count.
After outscoring the Eagles 17-3 in the first quarter, it then became the Luka-Brooklyn show. The diminutive guard Luka Frazier dribbled around and through a porous Eagle defense for 11 points.
Inside work was handled by Brooklyn Hiller, also scoring 11 while pulling in six rebounds. Jolene Ryan added 10 points as nine of 10 girls scored.
As a team Azalea shot a very fine 42 percent on 25 of 59 from the field and four of eight from the charity stripe.
Behind the hustle (six steals) and game high scoring (22 points) of scatback guard Drew Farmer, the Azalea Bruins ran roughshod over the Cubs of Riley Creek 50-22.
Using as full court press combined with a willingness to want to run, the Bruins went out to a 23-16 halftime lead.
After being rather complacent in the second quarter, the Bruins put on an 18-0 third quarter exhibition of speed, and great interior passing by Farmer, Hailee Murry and Brenna Clarke, eight points each, to open up a 25-point lead.
All of that speed combined with the fine inside work of Courtney Bay (six points) and the seven rebounds by Sienna Worthy added to the total domination by Azalea.
The Bruins made 22 of 60 (36 percent) from the field and a respectable six of 13 from the free throw line.
AMS v. Redwood
The Bruins traveled to Smith River to take on the Redwood Middle School girls team on Thursday.
The Bruins kept up their winning ways; defeating the Raiders by a combined 35 points.
The seventh grade, down by one point at halftime, switched to a zone offense at halftime and came back to win 29-20.
Joci Kay led the Bruins with seven points, while Sienna Worthey and Brooklyn Hiller each contributed five.
The eighth grade squad began its game with a deficit of six points – and two fouls in four seconds on point guard Vanessa Hernandez.
The Bruins made some adjustments and ended the first quarter up by nine, 15-6
“We started making shots,” Cooper said. “That, and we put our starters in.”
According to Cooper, she gave some of the bench players a chance to start because she knew the game wouldn’t be as tough as some of the other games they would play during the season and wanted to get some experience for all the players.
The Bruins were able to double the Raiders’ score by the end of the game, winning 48-24 to keep their streak alive.
Farmer led the Bruins with 22 points, while Bay put up 13 to take a close second.
The seventh grade travels to Fortuna today (Nov. 12) for the second day of the Fortuna Invitational seventh-grade tournament.
The eighth grade will wait to join them until Tuesday when both teams travel to Gold Beach to take on the Cubs of Riley Creek at 3:30 p.m.