With six seniors leading the squad the Brookings-Harbor High School boys basketball team has an abundance of fourth-year dreams to fill.
The majority of the dreams and expectations center around winning the Far West League championship and making it as far as possible at Gill Coliseum and the OSAA state tournament.
“It’s something I’ve worked for all four years,” senior Tyler Wood said. “It’s what I’ve gotten in the gym for at 6 a.m. every morning.
“I want to get as far as we can at Gill.”
According to Head Coach Jon Young, the team has the talent necessary to make it to Gill they just have to apply themselves and pick up the intensity.
“You have to be just as intense in games as you were today at practice,” Young said to the team at a recent afternoon practice. “Even if you’re sitting on the bench you’ve got to pick up the intensity and go crazy for the guys on the floor.”
The Bruins ended the 2010 season in second place in league with a record of 7-3 and graduated just two of last years squad.
This years squad features six seniors, five of whom start for the Bruins.
Chandler Gottfried, Thomas Spratt, Thomas Rushton, Nick Corpening, Tyler Wood and Alex Pate are all fourth-year returning players and had the opportunity to experience the state championship run in 2008-2009 season, and hope to be able to make a return.
The Bruins have had mixed results so far this season, beating teams like Yreka and Hidden Valley, which decisions, if taken strictly on the book strength of both teams, should have gone to the opponents.
And on the flip side of that coin, the Bruins have given up some games where, on paper, they should have won.
The team, currently ranked 26th in the OSAA preseason rankings, will face Far West League opponents ranked both higher and lower than it.
Sutherlin, ranked eighth, North Bend, 12th and South Umpqua, 19th all sit higher on the rankings board than the Bruins, while Siuslaw, 36th, and Douglas, 38th, are lower.
Preseason rankings are just that though, preseason, and can be massaged through careful scheduling, or can drop by scheduling tough opponents that will beat a team, but allow a team to learn and grow in the defeat.
The Bruins have scheduled preseason games that allow them to test the mettle of the players and get stronger in time for league play.
The team lacks a true post player from a height perspective, but what they give up in inches they make up for in the athletic abilities of Pate, Gotfried and backup Calvin Watwood.
Both Pate and Gotfried strive to outjump, outrun and outwork their opponents, and when they are running on all cylinders will prove a difficult duo to beat.
The Bruins have found a drive-and-dish player in Corpening, who draws the double-team when he drives to the basket, but has the vision to dish to his teammates or take the shot if needed.
Outside shooters don’t come anymore natural than Wood who can drop 3-pointers from anywhere on the court and a number of the Bruins’ offensive set involve Wood coming off a screen to catch and shoot for the easy three.
Spratt offers speed and hustle that other teams in the Far West League will find hard to match, and can drop shots with smooth precision from the ten-foot mark regularly.
The Bruins bench is deep with Watwood and Rushton offering support in the post positions, while Jake and Dexter Vaughn and Justin Murray spell the shooters.
Chandler Dodd, Cade Freels and Ronnie Manley come in off the bench to spell anyone who needs it, able to work well in the low spot as well as in substitution for the ball handlers.
The Bruins begin their league season with a clean slate, just like every high school basketball team in the state, and will – according to one of the assistant coaches – “surprise a lot of people, when it comes to the regular season.”