By Chad Robert Snyder
Pilot staff writer
While the final score may not suggest it, Tuesday night's game between the Brookings-Harbor High School Bruins and the McKinleyville Panthers was extremely competitive until the fourth quarter.
After the Panthers took their only lead of the game 20 seconds into the fourth, the Bruins seemed to come to life on both ends of the court and ultimately dispensed of McKinleyville at home, 65-46.
The first two quarter were somewhat out of character for the Bruins who have dominated all comers this year. They played well in the press and managed to steal a number of Panther passes, but were unable to convert on several easy baskets.
Head Coach Bryan Wood attributed much of the early performance by the Bruins to fatigue.
"We've been on the road for three days and played in three games," he said, referring to the Bruins weekend schedule that had them playing on back-to-back-to-back days.
If they were tired, the second half brought them back to the waking world. After watching their lead dwindle to one point at the end of the third quarter, the Bruins came out in the fourth with an onslaught of physical and deliberate play. The turning point seemed to be when senior Fred Corpening converted an and-one play after driving the ball to the basket. As a result of the free throw, the score went to 45-39 and the Bruins never looked back.
Chase Bansemer led the way in the fourth, scoring at will and going five for five from the line. He finished with 20 points and four boards.
"Chase stepped up when we needed it," Wood said. "That's what a point guard does, provides leadership on the floor."
The Bruins also played considerably better defensive basketball in the fourth quarter, according to Wood.
"We overcame fatigue and adversity and just played more fundamentally sound," he said.
Other Bruins had a big night as well. Corpening logged 17 points and seven boards, Kenton Bansemer had 14 and nine, and Jacob Eszlinger ended the night with 12 points.
Next, the Bruins host the Brookings Rotary Invitational which begins Friday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. in the CFCU Pavilion.