Junior Justin Murray drives through the lane on his way to 2 points in the BHHS Bruins’ victory over the Molalla Indians on Friday night.
In a game that mattered most — go big, or go home — the Brookings-Harbor High School boys basketball team went big: 20 points in the first quarter on its way to a 51-46 victory over the Indians of Molalla.
As far as first quarter points go, 20 isn’t that big a number, teams routinely score 20 points in a single quarter, but when it’s paired with limiting the opposition to just 4, it is huge.
“I don’t know,” junior Jake Vaughn said. “We just focused for the game, we were super pumped up and coach gave us a great speech before the game. We’ve been working super hard on defense in practice and it paid off.”
“This is unbelievable,” he added.
The Bruins scored first and they scored often, going on a 8-2 run in the first three minutes that had the Molalla coach calling a timeout in frustration. Three minutes later — after the Bruins had widened the gap to 15-2 — he called another timeout, this one produced just two more points before the quarter ended 20-4 in favor of the Bruins.
The second quarter saw the Indians score more (10 points), but the Bruins continued to shoot like the Hand of God was guiding the ball and their 12 second-quarter points were enough to take a 32-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Something clicked for the Indians at the half and they came out on the floor like a troop of hyenas ready to consume anything in their path. They scored 15 points in the third quarter while limiting the Bruins to 7 and caused a number of turnovers that led to points for them.
“They exploited a weakness, an area we need to improve on,” Head Coach Matt Simpson said. “But we won it at the free-throw line.”
“It was good for them,” Simpson added, indicating the Bruins squad assembled in front of him celebrating. “They can see that they are not invincible, we still have to be aggressive and put our nose to the grindstone.”
The Bruins recovered from the Indians’ onslaught in the fourth quarter, but it came down to a couple of key free throws by Calvin Watwood to put the game away. With 9 seconds remaining on the clock Watwood collected a huge rebound, after a missed shot by his teammate, and tried to put the ball back in the hole and was fouled. Confidently he strolled to the line and dropped the first of two free throws. The second followed in like manner and the Bruins walked away with the 51-46 point win and advanced one step closer to a chance at the state championship.
“They are living in the moment,” Simpson said to explain the Bruins’ victory. “They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
The Bruins will travel next week to continue their storied journey to greatness, most likely facing North Valley High School on Friday.