Junior Chandler Dodd, 22, rises to the challenge and blocks the shot as senior Cade Freels attempts a layup during the boys basketball Blue and Gold game on Monday night. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
It all begins Thursday. The hopes, the dreams, the desires and the goals will begin to become reality as the winter sports season begins Thursday afternoon. A wrestling match at Illinois Valley for the BHHS grapplers and the opening games of the Yreka basketball tournament for the boys and girls basketball teams will show whether all the pre-season hard work will pay off.
Head Coach Chris Schofield has high hopes for the girls basketball program this year.
“We want to play for a league championship,” Schofield said, “and make it to the state playoffs. Those are the same goals every season. There are certain things we can’t control but those are the things we want to accomplish.”
One of the many keys the Lady Bruins intend to use will be the depth of the bench, Schofield explained.
“We have some girls who will not get very good minutes this year and they should,” he said. “Of course all of that could go away with the turn of an ankle or a bad choice by a player, but as of today we have really good depth.”
The Lady Bruins will continue to use a unique brand of offense that demands other teams to match the Bruins’ tempo, and a up-tempo, high-pressure defense intended to force the opposition to turn the ball over – resulting in quick scores for the Bruins.
The Bruins have just three seniors taking to the floor this season. Lakota Hatcher and Josey Glazebrook – both four-year veterans – and Athena Farr, a recent transplant to Brookings from Montana.
“I came from a big program with lots of girls,” Farr explained. “They are a lot alike though, this program is really fast and we have a lot of really talented girls who can step up. I think we’ll be a threat at state.”
Being a threat at the state championships seemed to be a common thread amongst the seniors.
“I want the league title and to bring home some hardware from state,” Hatcher said. “If we work hard and give it our all, I’ll be happy.”
Glazebrook agreed and explained that this year marks one where the team is more unified than they have been in the past.
“We really came together as a team over the summer,” she explained. “We’re going to Gill.”
The Lady Bruins face a challenge in their lack of a true center, but Schofield isn’t overly concerned.
“We’ve never had a ton of size,” he explained. “We have girls that are versatile. That can play post and some guard; they give us some added depth. We’re not big by any means but we have some girls who can play both spots to give us some depth at the post.”
Whatever the season brings, Schofield and his team of Lady Bruins seem to be ready to leave all of their energy on the court and are shooting for a league title and a berth in the OSAA championships at Gill Coliseum in March.
With eight seniors aiming to make it to the final rounds in the OSAA wrestling tournament, the Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team has all the intentions of taking back the Far West League title.
“With the numbers we have out right now, we have a chance to be league champs,” Head Coach Dave Freeman said. “We’ve got some really talented kids out and we’ve got some wrestlers that have raw athletic ability. If they can learn what I want to teach them, they could be really good.”
One of the Bruins’ best chances to bring home hardware from the state tournament – senior Cole Hannan – is intent on finishing what he started his freshman year.
“I want to go out there and prove what I’ve been trying to do since my freshman year,” Hannan said. “I want to stay in shape, never give up and be a state champion.”
For fellow senior Ethan Williams the goal is a little different.
“I want to make it further than I did last year,” Williams explained. “I want to make it to state.”
Williams surprised a lot of his opponents last year, according to Freeman, and made it to the regional tournament but fell just short of qualifying for the state tournament.
“I’m hoping Ethan makes it because he worked so hard and he surprised a lot of people last year,” Freeman said. “I really hope he does because he’s a senior and he’s worked so hard to make it. I’ll take him to the tournament even if he doesn’t make it because he deserves it.”
As far as a Far West League title goes, the Bruins seem to have a good grasp on what it will take to claim victory.
“If everyone stays on the team, and is dedicated, then we have a chance at winning a team title,” senior C.J. Paxton explained. “Personally, I want to be in the finals at state, but as a team we can be champs if we work really hard.”
The Bruins preseason begins at 6 p.m. at Illinois Valley High School, a preseason favorite to win the team state title this year at the 3A level.
“This will be a good test,” Freeman said.
“This is a special group of guys,” boys basketball Head Coach Matt Simpson said. “With two senior and nine juniors, we’re kind of young, but we’re looking to make a deep run into the playoffs.”
According to Simpson, the team has a desire to make some noise this year as they try to make a run at the Far West League title and make it to the OSAA state playoffs.
“I think we can sneak in under the radar and surprise some people,” Simpson said. “We just have to believe in ourselves and make sure everybody is buying in.”
The Bruins have scheduled preseason games with some of the top teams in the state including Central High School in Independence, Tillamook, Seaside, La Grande, Mazama and Klamath Union.
“Our schedule is ridiculous,” Simpson explained. “We’re going to see a lot of what the state has to offer in terms of what’s going on out there.”
Senior Cade Freels would like to see the team make it further than they have since he has been with the program.
“We’re working hard in practice,” Freels said. “We need to be well prepared to start playing and we’re working hard on it.”
The 2012-2013 season marks Simpson’s first as a BHHS head coach and he hopes to use his interpretation of the read and react offense to utilize the Bruins’ strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
“We want to stretch teams laterally and vertically and make them spread out big time,” Simpson explained. “We’re always moving and getting action to the rim. Every time the ball moves, we’re making the defense think and react.”
Simpson played a couple of years of junior college ball before turning to coaching while he got his masters degree at George Fox University.
With Simpson’s fresh look on the program there was the possibility of friction as he introduces new ideas to an established team, but he and the team used the summer months to get to know each other.
“We spent a lot of time in the offseason getting to know each other,” he explained. “Now we have to get kids excited about it and utilize their strengths.”
The Bruins begin their season with a game on Thursday at the Yreka Tournament.