The Azalea Middle School seventh and eighth grade boys basketball teams continued to win with lopsided victories over the visiting Raiders of Redwood.
Eighth-grader Dustin Lea (43), left, takes a clear lane to the basket for two in the Bruins’ victory over the Raiders on Monday. Seventh-grader Christopher Hart, right, gets hammered out of his clear lane by a Redwood defender. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
In a foul-filled (13 in the first quarter) – and at times sloppy – game, Azalea ran away with a 54-37 win over the Redwood Raiders.
According to seventh-grade Head Coach Chris Hart, defensive pressure was a key in the victory.
“Our pressure, again, was a difference,” he said, “and, we got some good balanced scoring.”
With both teams employing man defenses, the Bruins’ press led them to a 16-10 first quarter lead.
Azalea’s run-and-gun offense marked a stark contrast to the deliberate half-court game of Redwood and, as the Bruins went on 4-0 and 7-0 runs in the second quarter, Redwood had to pick up the pace, something it would not do successfully.
With the score 29-14 in favor of the Bruins at the half, the Raiders opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run to try and make a game of it, but a 6-0 run put the Bruins safely ahead and they claimed the win.
Led by the 10 points by Sy Sirchuk and Weston Robbins, 10 Bruins put points on the board.
Eighth-grade Head Coach Jason Fulton’s Bruins used a dominating first half (29-9) to claim a 46-24 victory and lay claim to another win in their three-game streak.
Azalea displayed its prowess by scoring the first seven points unanswered on their way to a 15-4 first quarter lead.
“We got a good variety of scoring,” Fulton said. “Our shot selection was really good at times.”
Fernando Lira, 6, James Turnbull, 4, and Steve Kleespies, 4, kept Azalea on the right track as they picked up quality minutes in the second quarter and put the game away.
The Bruins’ quickness was too much for the taller, more deliberate Raiders and steals shortly turned into Bruins’ points.
The visiting Raiders never got closer than 14 points in the second half despite a short 4-0 run, and the Bruins cruised to victory.
As a team, Azalea shot 37 percent (22 of 58) from the field while drawing a blank (0 of 9) from the charity stripe.
Azalea Invitational tournament
Azalea Middle School seventh and eighth grade boys basketball teams went undefeated on Saturday, sweeping Bandon and Siuslaw in the four-team bracket.
In its opening game the seventh-grade team used a 9-0 second-quarter run to pull away from Bandon on their way to a 59-25 victory.
“We started slow,” seventh-grade Head Coach Chris Hart said. “But the boys never quit and our pressure did the rest.”
Azalea shot 40 percent from the field while making seven of 15 from the free-throw line in the win.
The Bruins then ran their record to 4-2 by charging past Siuslaw 42-25 in the championship game.
“The boys played hard and did some good things,” Hart said.
The Bruins showed a balanced scoring attack as eight players tickled the twine for points.
The Bruins finally got that elusive first win by running around, past and over Bandon 66-21.
“A very team-orientated effort,” eighth-grade Head Coach Jason Fulton said. “We showed good hustle and I am very proud of our effort.”
Using a well-balanced scoring attack, led by Dillon Serna’s game high 13 points, nine players were able to score.
The Bruins’ final tourney game showed just why basketball is called a team sport.
With 11 Bruins scoring points and an outstanding defensive effort shown by Fernando Lira on Siuslaw’s go-to guard, Azalea thumped the Vikings 67-28.
“We did what we needed to do,” Fulton said. “We took their main player completely out of his game.”
Serna once again led the Bruins with 13 points, Azalea raced to a 15-10 first quarter lead.
A 4-0 run and a 12-0 run to start the second and third quarters were all Azalea would need to win their second straight.
Noah James, 12 points, David Freeman, 12, Joe Johnson, 7, and Sean Colbert, 6, also contributed to the Bruins’ victory.
As a team Azalea shot 42 percent from the field and four of eight from the free throw line.
The teams will travel to Myrtle Point on Thursday before heading north again for a weekend tournament at Marshfield.
The Bruins will be home again at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.