By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

The Brookings-Harbor High School boys' basketball team advanced to the championship game of the 53rd annual Winner's Edge basketball tournament in Yreka, Calif., with a 53-36 win over the Hidden Valley Mustangs.

In the championship game, the Bruins will take on the Del Norte Warriors, who defeated the Yreka Miners 59-48 Friday evening, at 5 p.m. today (Dec. 8).

Friday's win over the Mustangs was a game of spurts in the opening three quarters - with the Bruins pulling ahead by eight or 10 points and then the Mustangs charging back to pull within a bucket.

The Bruins never trailed in the game, but did let the Mustangs get close on a number of occasions.

After the first half, the Bruins led 26-20 and increased their lead to 10 with consistent play in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Bruins were able to wear down the Mustangs like they do with most teams, and closed out the game with a 13-6 final quarter.

The Bruins were able to frustrate the Mustangs with their tenacious defense, picking off passes left and right and registering 12 steals on the night, many of which led to easy Bruin buckets.

andquot;We want our identity to come from our defense,andquot; Coach Bryan Wood said. andquot;It was just a good defensive effort and we were able to avoid foul trouble for the most part.andquot;

Fred Corpening and Nick Taresh led the Bruins with 12 points each while Chase Bansemer and Kenton Bansemer both scored in double figures as well with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Charles Chambers added six points while A.J. Weber rounded out the scoring with two.

Earl Crawford led the Mustangs with eight points and Trevor Porter added six.

In the first game of the tournament, the Bruins blew by the Etna Lions 67-42 Thursday night.

The Bruins started out slow against Etna, trading baskets with the Lions and only led by a point (11-10) after the first quarter.

But the undermanned Lions, who had just seven players suited up for Thursday's game, soon got overwhelmed as the Bruins dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Lions 23-3 in the period.

K. Bansemer had nine points in the second quarter alone as he scored a game-high 18 points in just two and half quarters work.

With a 34-13 cushion at the half, the Bruins continued to build their lead by knocking down three 3-pointers in the third quarter, with Michael Wood, Taresh and Jacob Eszlinger all hitting from down town.

The Bruin reserves got a lot of floor time against the Lions, playing the entire fourth quarter and much of the third.

As has been the case throughout the season so far, excellent defense fueled the Bruin offense with steals on one end leading to easy buckets on the other.

Bansemer led all players with 18 points while Taresh and Wood also reached double figures with 11 points apiece.

Chambers, Cody Cozad and Eszlinger each chipped in six points while Garrett Long had four points, Michael Holmes had three and C. Bansemer added two.