By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
In just eight games this year, the Brookings-Harbor High School girls' basketball team has already matched last year's season win total.
The Bruins won their third game of the year Tuesday night with a 29-22 victory over the Illinois Valley Cougars.
Although the Bruins (3-5) may have, at times, looked not as crisp Tuesday night, they were still able to maintain control of the game for the majority of the night and implement their game plan when needed.
"We looked more like a basketball team for 32 minutes tonight than we have all season," Coach Chris Schofield said. "We made some mistakes down the stretch, but we were still able to execute."
After starting out with an 8-3 advantage in the first quarter, the Bruins slowed down in the second quarter and trailed the Cougars at halftime, 12-11.
But the Bruins came back in the third and rattled off eight straight points before the Panthers got on the board and led 21-14 heading into the final quarter.
The Panthers were able to pull within four points, but the Bruins never let them any closer as they held on for the seven-point win.
Chelsey Hannan had a superb game for the Bruins, scoring a season-high 16 points on the night.
"She was very assertive offensively tonight," Schofield said. "We talked to her and Kara about playing like scorers and tonight she did."
Ashley Juarez and Kara Miller chipped in four points apiece while Miriam Hernandez and Taylor Keys had two points each and Ciara Freeman had one.
In the JV game, the Bruins improved to 5-0 on the year with a 55-14 win over the Cougars.
"We won that game with defense," Coach Kelly Garvin said. "We're able to use our speed to out work other teams and we try and get a lot of point in transition."
Ally Manley and Sarah Pate had 14 points apiece while Freeman scored 13 points in just two quarters of work.
On Saturday, the second day of the Pacific Rim Tournament in Gold Beach, the Bruins defeated the Cougars in consolation play, 43-27.
The Bruins opened the game with a 10-2 lead after the first quarter, but the Cougars ended the second with an 8-0 run and trailed by just two, 16-14, at the half.
But the Bruins were able to regroup and get their offense flowing as they outscored the Cougars 27-13 in the second half.
"The second half was much cleaner all the way through," Schofield said. "I thought for the first time all year, we did a good job finishing a game."
In the second half, the Bruins were able to use a solid full-court press to thwart the Cougar ball handlers and force turnovers and bad passes.
"Once they get it in their minds to press and they go aggressive, it can turn the game around," Schofield said.
The Bruins were able to run their offensive schemes as well as they have all year, making excellent entry passes to their posts and cutters.
Hannan, Miller and Hernandez all had excellent passing games.
Three Bruins scored in double figures, led by Juarez with a game-high 14 points. Miller and Hannan added 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Hernandez, Keys and Allison Larsson each pitched in two points apiece.
In the consolation finals, the Bruins were matched up against an aggressive St. Mary's team and lost 45-26.
The Bruins started out solid and trailed 13-8 after the first quarter, but fell apart in the second, managing just one point in the quarter and trailed 28-9 at the half.
"St. Mary's did a good job being aggressive with their defense and we had trouble with the pressure," Schofield said. "But in the second half I felt we dealt with the pressure better than we had all season."
The Bruins were able to pick up their play in the second half as they played even with the Crusaders as both teams scored 17 points in the half.
Miller led the Bruins with nine points while Hannan chipped in five, Juarez added four, Hernandez and Keys had three points apiece and Larsson rounded out the scoring with two.
The Bruins will be participating in the Crusader Christmas Classic at St. Bernard's High School this weekend.
Their first game will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13 against Lower Lake. At 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, the Bruins will play St. Bernard's in their second game of the tournament.