The charge to the state finals came crumbling to a halt for the Brookings-Harbor High School boys basketball team on Friday night as they lost in the first round of the playoffs to top ranked North Valley High School, 52-87.
The Bruins kept the game close through the first half of the first period, not giving the Knights a chance to sneak away, but several turnovers and a number of mental mistakes allowed North Valley to open up the scoring floodgates and put 23 points on the board to the Bruins' 14.
Facing a seasoned squad (8 seniors) of Knights was no mean feat, and while the Bruins did their best to keep up, they got into early foul trouble while trying to control 6-9 senior JJ Chirnside on the inside and shooting phenom Kevin Brazille on the outside.
"They were a big team," Head Coach Matt Simpson said. "Both tall and they spread the floor out with their players."
The second quarter found the Bruins keeping the game even, scoring 16 while the Knights were limited to 17, but they couldn't reduce the deficit and went into halftime with a lot of catching up to do.
A 9-21 third quarter was the exact opposite direction from where the Bruins needed to go, but North Valley came out of the locker room hot and the Bruins had too many mental mistakes and turnovers to be able to get themselves back in the game.
The beginning of the fourth quarter found a rejuvenated set of Bruins' starters and Simpson gave them the go ahead to hold nothing back.
"Beginning of the fourth quarter, I said, I don't care what the score is, win the fourth quarter," Simpson said. "Go have fun, play your tail off, enjoy the experience and win the fourth quarter."
The Bruins got outscored 13-26 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't because they weren't working for it, the Knights just found their stroke and put points on the board.
"The guys played hard, we learned a lot," Simpson said. "They are a lot older, we're younger, but this is great for this group to get this far. Last time Brookings was this far, they won the state championship, so they can feel real good about where they've gotten as a group.
"I'm proud of them, they should be proud of themselves."
Senior Cade Freels agreed with his coach.
I felt we were playing really well here at the end of the season," Freels said. "The guys just have to pick it up next year and run with it. I'm really glad to have played for the program for four years. It's been a good time and I've enjoyed every moment of it," he said.