Mathew Brock

Pilot Staff Writer

The lady Bruins gave a strong effort this season as they defeated all but the first-place Marshfield Pirates during league play and made it into the first round of the state playoffs before ultimately being defeated by the Baker Bulldogs.

The Bruins went 15-11 overall at rank No. 12 in the OSAA 4A rankings. They ended at second place in the Far West league at 8-2.

According to Coach Chris Schofield, this year’s team came from humble beginnings but became one of the few teams in recent years to make it past the play-in round and into the state playoffs.

Abby Farmer also managed to break the school’s all-time scoring record this year for girls basketball with 1,445 career points, which had been previously held since 1987 by Becky Wattwood at 1,422.

“This is probably the most progress I’ve had with any team I’ve ever coached,” Schofield said. “When you compare where we were at the start to where we ended up, it was a good year all around.”

The Bruins struggled to keep their energy up throughout their early-season games, which contributed to a loss of focus during the later quarters of their games. As the season progressed, the team became more fit and were able to play more consistently throughout. Keeping their energy up was key to helping the team focus on maintaining their offensive and defensive strategies as the season wore on.

The Bruins got off to a rocky start as they were shut down during their first tournament of the year at Yreka and lost their first non-league game against Hidden Valley. After taking modest wins against North Valley and Coquille, the Bruins started to hit their stride during the non-league season, where they ultimately ended about even at 6-8 overall going into league play.

The Bruins finally hit their stride during league play as they began the season with a four-game winning streak. They first defeated Douglas and Siuslaw at home before going to conquer North Bend and South Umpqua.

The Bruins then hit a wall against Marshfield, who proved to be a consistent powerhouse in the Far West League this year. The Bruins played hard but ultimately fell at 49-41 to end the first half of league play at second place.

The Bruin’s champonship ambitions were not to be diminished, however, as the second half of league play mirrored the first. Douglas, Siuslaw, North Bend and South Umpqua all fell during their rematch games against the Bruins, which left the Marshfield Pirates as the final barrier to the league title.

In the end, the Bruins were unable to overcome the Pirates who secured the league title ina 49-34 win. But at a solid second place, the Bruins still had a chance to make it to the state playoffs.

Before playoffs, the Bruins received several All-League awards.

Farmer was voted the league MVP. Then Farmer and Brianna Humphrey both received first team All-Conference honors while Lexi Schofield received second team All-Conference honors.

Malia Leddy received an honorable mention and was picked as the Bruins representative for the All-Conference defensive team.

The Bruins moved on to their play-in game where they hosted the Philomath Warriors. The Bruins determination and hard work for the season culminated against the Warriors, who they dominated at 68-38. With that, the Bruins secured their place in the first round of the state playoffs, where they would go on to face the Baker Bulldogs on March 2.

While the Bruins have consistently made it to the play-in round over the past decade, making it to the first round of the state playoffs had been more elusive. The team fell short last year, but it only served to fill the Bruins with more determination this time around.

The Bruins played a strong game against the Bulldogs. They remained only slightly behind within a 10-point margin for most of the game. It wasn’t until the last two minutes of the fourth that the Bulldogs finally broke away and ended things at a deceptively wide 73-55.

Schofield was disappointed the team fell short this year, but stressed that reaching the higher levels of state play is a multi-year process. One of his biggest takeaways was that younger players got valuable state playoff experience, which will be invaluable later on.

While the winter season for 2018 is over, the Bruins still have a team camp planned for summer, tentatively scheduled for late June. Schofield is also hoping to participate in a summer basketball league hosted in Grants Pass.

This year the Bruins graduate seniors Makaila Holmes, Humphrey, Leddy and Farmer.