By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
The Azalea Middle School seventh and eighth grade boys' basketball teams split a pair of home games against the Redwood Raiders Monday night.
In the first game, the seventh grade team lost a heartbreaker to the Raiders, falling 54-53.
And in the second game of the night, the eighth grade Bruins downed the Raiders 51-38.
Seventh-graders fall 54-53
After trailing by nine points at the end of the third quarter, the Bruins made a valiant comeback attempt in the fourth.
The Bruins started out the quarter with an 11-1 run, where four different Bruins scored.
Andrew Bilyeu capped off the run with a steal and layup to give the Bruins a 41-40 edge with 4:30 left in the game.
From that point on, the game was a back and forth battle with four lead changes and two ties.
With just about three minutes to play, Cade Freels scored inside for the Bruins to give them a 46-44 lead.
But the Raiders would come back and score six straight to take a four-point advantage.
The Bruins cut the lead to a single point on three different occasions - with the final time being with 16.5 seconds left - but could not quite get over the hump as time ran out on the Bruins.
In the opening quarter, the Bruin offense was running on all cylinders as they scorched the Raiders for 17 points and took a one-point lead into the second quarter.
However, in the second and third quarters, the Bruins struggled from the field - scoring all of their five points in the second quarter from the free-throw line - as the Raiders took control of the game.
The Bruins dropped 23 points in the final quarter to fuel their comeback run.
Darrell Hopper led the Bruins with 14 points on the night as he scored 10 of those points in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.
Cade Freels added 13 points for the Bruins and Zach Konkel also hit double figures with 11 points.
Nate Orman chipped in seven points, Bilyeu and Tyree Dingle had three points apiece and Sheldon Scott added two.
Eighth-graders roll to 51-38 win
The Bruins used excellent defensive play to stifle the Raiders in their win in the second game Monday night.
andquot;Our defense was very good tonight,andquot; Coach Keith Wallin said. andquot;We've been working really hard on our half-court defense and it paid off tonight.andquot; The Bruins outscored the Raiders in each of the first three quarters and played even with them in the fourth.
In the third quarter, the Bruins held the Raiders to just four points and increased their lead from seven to 13 points by the end of the quarter.
Alex Pate led the Bruins with 17 points and Chandler Gotfried added 14.
Jonny Fertig chipped in seven points, Nick Corpening had four, Pete Peterson three and Tim Drafahl, Trevor Gallian and Thomas Rushton each had two points apiece.
On Feb. 9, the Bruins took third place in the Lions Tournament in Coos Bay.
The Bruins beat Reedsport 57-30 in their first game of the tournament.
Gotfried led the Bruins with 17 points and Corpening poured in 15 of his own.
After losing their second game to Sunset White, the Bruins scored 22 fourth quarter points to defeat Sunset Blue 57-48 in the third place game.
Once again, Gotfried led the Bruins with 18 while Tyler Wood had 11 and Pate added 10.
The Bruins travel to Sunset White today (Feb. 13) and then up to Siuslaw on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The next home game for the Bruins will be on Wednesday, Feb. 20 against Bandon. Seventh grade game starts at 4 p.m. followed by the eighth grade game at 5:30 p.m.