The Brookings-Harbor Bruins girls basketball team knew that if they were going to win a state championship they would have to defeat no.1 seed and Far West league rival Sutherlin at some point of the playoffs. The Bruins thought facing them in the first game of the state tournament would be their best chance to beat the only team that had defeated them this season.
Unfortunately for BHHS, the Bulldogs had other plans as they jumped on the Bruins early en-route to a 62-41 victory Wednesday afternoon's first-round 4A state playoff game at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
"We thought our best shot would be to catch them the first game, before they got settled in and felt good about themselves. You see how that worked out," joked Bruin head coach Chris Schofield after the game. "They played like a team on a mission today, which they are."
Sutherlin jumped out to an early first-quarter lead thanks to Bulldog center Kayce Mock's 6-points and BHHS shooting a dismal 21-percent from the field.
"We looked pretty pasty-faced coming out of the tunnel," said Schofield. "It was poor shooting by us because of their defense. They do that to a lot of teams."
The Bulldogs continued to put the pressure on the Bruins in the second quarter, as they allowed a mere 3-points by BHHS in the second quarter after giving up only seven in the first quarter. Sutherlin contested every shot, out-rebounded the Bruins 25-12 in the first half, and consistently broke the Bruins vaunted press-defense. At halftime, the Bulldogs had amassed a 29-point lead and seemed to have the game well in hand at 39-10.
There were some bright spots for the Bruins, however, as they did outscore the Bulldogs 21-10 in the fourth quarter and junior forward Courtney Kay was 5-8 from the field and scored 12-points.
"I felt like we needed some sort of boost. We needed to feel good going into tomorrow's game, so we needed to do some things well and get some confidence back," said Schofield.
The Bruins now head to the consolation round and will play Henley, who lost Wednesday to Seaside, 51-48, Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
The quick turnaround after what could be a deflating loss means the Bruins have to pick themselves up and be ready to play another quality opponent.
"The first few minutes, we were feeling the butterflies today," admitted Schofield. "We've got to get over that and carry what we did in the second half into tomorrow's game."
Schofield, who has a vast amount of experience coaching in the state tournament, is not about to let his team get down on themselves.
"I told them that you can mourn about the Sutherlin loss on Monday. We set aside Monday and that's when they are allowed to mope and complain, but we have to remain focused until then," he said.