By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

The Azalea Middle School seventh and eighth grade boys' basketball teams fell to the North Bend Bullpups in a pair of home games Tuesday night.

North Bend downs seventh-graders 68-39

Big offensive outbursts in the first and fourth quarters fueled the Bullpups to a commanding 68-39 win over the seventh grade Bruins.

North Bend outscored the Bruins 24-9 in the opening quarter and then used a 17-8 fourth quarter to close out the game and secure the win.

The Bruins were able to play even with the Bullpups in the second and third stanzas and were only outscored 27-22 during those periods.

Cade Freels led the Bruins with 16 points, with 10 of those coming in the second quarter alone, and once again controlled the boards for the Bruins.

Zach Konkel had a good shooting night for the Bruins as he notched eight points and Andrew Bilyeu added seven.

Tyree Dingle had one of his best games of the season as he scored six points and made a number of key plays on defense as well.

Cole Hannan added two points and Brad Austin came off the bench and provided some energy and made some good hustle plays for the Bruins.

Eight-graders lose tight game to Bullpups, 57-55

The eight grade Bruins trailed by 14 points at the end of the third, but mounted a fourth quarter comeback that brought them within a single bucket before time ran out and North Bend held on for the 57-55 win.

andquot;We fought hard, but we needed to play with a little more desperation for the whole game rather than just the last five minutes,andquot; Coach Keith Wallin said. andquot;It's all about wanting to play harder than your opponent for 32 minutes.andquot;

After the Bruins took an early 10-6 lead, North Bend used a half-court trap to create turnovers as they were able to score 16 straight points to end the quarter with a 22-10 lead.

The Bruins bounced back in the second quarter and cut the lead in half as they trailed by just six, 34-28, at halftime.

But the Bullpups poured it on again in the third and outscored the Bruins 18-10 in the quarter.

With a double-digit deficit heading into the final period, the Bruins gradually chopped away at the lead.

North Bend tried to hold onto the lead as they slowed down their offense and tried to kill as much clock as possible.

With the clock heading toward double zeros, Alex Pate put in an offensive rebound to trim the lead to just three, 55-52, with only 12.3 seconds left to play.

But the Bullpups knocked down a pair of clutch free throws to put the game out of reach.

The Bruins' Tyler Wood drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but the trey was too little too late as time ran out on the Bruins in the loss.

Chandler Gotfried had another big game for the Bruins as he controlled the paint with 24 points on the night.

The Bruins' other big man, Alex Pate, also had a productive night as he dropped 16 points on the Bullpups.

Nick Corpening added five points, Tyler Wood chipped in four and Tim Drafahl, Jonathan Fertig and Thomas Spratt each had two points apiece.

The next game for the Bruins will be a home contest on Thursday, March 6, against Coquille. The seventh grade game begins at 4 p.m. followed by the eighth-graders at 5:30 p.m.