BANDON - It was a slow start for the Brookings-Harbor High School girls basketball team Tuesday night as they faced the Lady Trojans of Douglas at Bandon High School in a bid for second place in the Far West League.
A win would also put the Bruins in the position to host a round-of-16 play-in game on Saturday.
The Bruins opened the contest with just 8 points while allowing the Trojans to score 17 - and uncharacteristically high amount for the Lady Bruins' high-intensity pressure defense.
"We didn't rotate well in the first quarter and they handled the pressure really well," Head Coach Chris Schofield said. "They gave us some problems and we didn't execute very well the entire game."
The second quarter proved to be better, but not enough to take the lead as the Bruins outscored the Trojans 12-8.
The Bruins really opened the floodgates in the third quarter causing multiple turnovers by the Lady Trojans and outscoring them 10-6.
"We were tired of playing bad," junior Karlie Gonzalez said. "We were embarrassed with how we were playing and we all stepped up."
Douglas' frustration showed in the fourth quarter as the Bruins' pressure defense proved to be too much for the Lady Trojans to handle and the Bruins outscored the Trojans 13-10. The score wasn't final until the last second though as the Bruins' Iva Hart got fouled with five seconds remaining and while she made the first of her 1-and-1 foul shots she couldn't seal the deal and put the Bruins up by 3 when she missed the second.
The Trojans called a time out as Bruins' fans collectively held their breath and then let it out in one mighty roar as the Trojans missed their two chances at tying the game and the Bruins walked away with a 43-41 victory and second place in the Far West League.
The Lady Bruins will host a team yet to be determined - likely the winner between Scappoose or Yamhill-Carlton - on either Friday or Saturday night at the CFCU Pavilion in Brookings.
It was a game where free throws were all that mattered - or almost all that mattered. It was two missed free throws by the Bruins that allowed Siuslaw the opportunity to tie up the game, but it was seven straight made free throws in overtime that put the game away 76-66 for the Brookings-Harbor High School boys basketball team.
The Bruins began the game strong, jumping out to an early lead, but allowed the Vikings the opportunity to get back in the game and ended the first quarter with a 2-point deficit. The Bruins refused to let the first quarter drag them down though and they held Siuslaw to just 6 points in the second as the cruised to a 38-30 lead at the half. The Vikings came out hot in the third quarter, cutting the Bruins lead to 2 with a 19-13 run.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the fourth and the Bruins' Ronnie Manley stood at the free-throw line with 19 seconds remaining in the game. If he hits both free throws it puts the Bruins up by three, but he missed the second of his 1-and-1 giving the Bruins only a 2-point cushion which the Vikings ate up and tied the game at 63 even. The Bruins tried to score with 5 seconds left but regulation time ended with the score knotted up. In the 4-minute overtime the Bruins hit 7 straight free throws, including four straight by junior Calvin Watwood.
"I would much rather have made them than missed them," Watwood said. "I was feeling confident."
According to Head Coach Matt Simpson, the team has bought into his system and are giving everything they have to make victories happen.
"The guys are playing really well," he said. "They are playing for something and are really coming together.
"I told the guys we were undefeated in overtime this season, and they really wanted to keep that going," he added with a grin. "I've been keeping that one in my back pocket for a while now."
The boys team finished third with the tie-breaker victory, and will travel to face their next opponent - possibly Madras on Friday.