By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

A tenacious defensive effort kept the Brookings-Harbor High School girls' basketball team nipping at North Bend's heels until the final buzzer in a 34-28 loss to the Bulldogs Friday night.

The Bruins (1-5, 7-13) came out aggressive in the first half and shut down the Bulldogs (5-1, 9-8), frustrating them with a stifling defensive performance.

andquot;We came out with a lot more confidence tonight,andquot; Coach Chris Schofield said. andquot;They had to make plays to beat us. We didn't just hand it to them.andquot;

The Bruins came out of the gate with a swarming defense that neutralized the Bulldogs and allowed the Bruins to run their offense and get off quality shots.

andquot;Defensively, we executed as well as we have all year,andquot; Schofield said. andquot;Hopefully this is another building block for us.andquot;

In the first half, a patient Bruin offense worked the clock while getting good shots and gave the Bruins a 12-9 lead at halftime.

A jumper by Chelsey Hannan stretched the Bruin lead to five, 16-11 early in the third quarter.

But the Bulldogs started to frustrate the Bruins with a full-court press and finished the quarter with a 7-0 run, giving the Bulldogs an 18-16 lead after three quarters.

In the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter, North Bend continued to press the Bruins, forcing turnovers and leading the Bulldogs to 10 unanswered points.

The Bruins, however, were not about to go away without a fight as Jessie Goergen nailed a jumper to bring the Bruins back within five, 29-24, with just 2:15 left to play.

After the Bulldogs started to pull away again, Kara Miller drained a 3-pointer with under a minute left in regulation to bring the deficit back to five points.

But the Bruins couldn't quite get over the hump in the waning moments of the game and fell 34-28.

Miller led the Bruins with 16 points on the night and did a great job underneath, boxing out and crashing the boards.

Only three other Bruins scored as Hannan chipped in seven, Taylor Keys had three and Goergen added two.

Meagan Meador led a balanced scoring attack for the Bulldogs with eight points.

In the JV game, Ally Manley hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bruins a dramatic 37-34 win over the Bulldogs.

Manley led the Bruins with 12 points, all in the second half, while Sarah Pate added 11 on the night.

The Bruins get a week off before their next game, which will be a home contest against the South Umpqua Lancers on Friday, Feb. 8. The JV game begins at 4:15 p.m. while varsity starts at 6 p.m.