Bruins sports teams faced a transition year in 2018 as they wrapped up the tail end of their last 4A season and began play in their new 3A league during the fall.

Some teams found themselves in a more competitive environment with the move while others quickly rose to the top and have become new powerhouses at the 3A level. Several spring sports had strong previous seasons at the 4A level and the Bruins are showing a lot of promise as the winter season enters league play.

Boys basketball

Last season, the Bruins began 2018 strong by taking two wins in league play during overtime against Douglas and Siuslaw. They went on to take a modest third place in the Far West league with a 6-4 league record, qualifying for a play-in game against Sutherlin.

Sutherlin ended up knocking the Bruins out of the playoffs at 53-39, and ended the Bruins season with them ranked No.19 in the OSAA 4A rankings with a near-even 12-13 overall record.

Kicking off their current season in November, the Bruins were able to keep much of their core team after only graduating three seniors. The team has mostly played up this year against some of their longtime 4A and 5A opponents, even though they’ve been moved down to the 3A level.

So far the Bruins have found the most success in tournament play as they sit almost even at 5-4. After one more tournament at North Valley this Friday to end their pre-league season, they begin league play against Douglas on Dec. 8.

Girls basketball

Last season was a strong one for the Bruins as Abbey Farmer led the team to a spot near the top of their league and a well-earned shot at the playoffs.

The Bruins began league play in January where they went on a four-game winning streak before hitting a wall against their undefeated rivals, the Marshfield Pirates. The Bruins quickly rebounded, carving their way through the rest of their league opponents on another four-game streak before once again facing Marshfield.

They were unable to overcome the Pirates in their rematch game and ended their league season 8-2 at a solid second place in the Far West League. This earned the Bruins a play-in game against Philomath, who they conquered at a wide 68-38 and headed for the playoffs.

The first round of playoffs put the Bruins up against the Baker Bulldogs, who went nearly undefeated and conquered their own league at 9-1. The Bruins played a strong game, but the Bulldogs won out at 73-55, ending the Bruins season.

The Bruins finished at 15-11 overall, ranked No. 13 in the OSAA 4A rankings. They graduated four seniors, including school record-breaker Abbey Farmer.

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

This season looks to be a rebuilding year for the Bruins, yet they have remained competitive with their new 3A classification. So far they’re near even at a 4-5 record and will end their pre-league season this Friday at North Valley before taking on Douglas, their first league opponent, Dec. 8.

Wrestling

Coach John Christopher took the reigns of the Bruins wrestling program last year as coach Alonzo Nalls spent the year as a volunteer coach. Christopher worked on building the program, culminating in a decent showing at the regional tournament.

Last season, Jonny Zebadua placed fifth in the 192 weight category, while Kelvon’te Dawsey placed sixth in the 152 weight category.

Nalls stepped back into the head coaching spot this year and continues to work on building the program at the high school level by working to cultivate youth talent with younger programs.

So far the Bruins have managed to place in most of their meets and are looking to place high at the regional tournament. This year will be the send-off for one of Nalls first groups of four-year wrestlers at Brookings-Harbor High School.

Baseball

Last spring saw the Bruins baseball team give a strong showing as they secured second-place in league at 10-5 and earned themselves a spot in the playoffs against Gladstone.

After a strong pre-season, the Bruins began league play in April, going 5-1 against Siuslaw and Douglas. They then hit a wall against North Bend, who defeated the Bruins 3-0 and went on to be undefeated. The Bruins only suffered one more league loss after that to end at 10-5, solidly in second place.

Their second-place standing earned them a play-in game against Sweet Home, who the Bruins defeated 5-3. The Bruins advanced to the first round of playoffs against Gladstone, who defeated the Bruins 5-0 and went on to become state champions.

The Bruins ended things at 19-9 overall for the season, ranked No. 20 in the OSAA rankings. They graduated only three seniors and are looking at a strong veteran team this coming year.

Softball

Last season was a bit of a struggle for the Bruins softball team, who had some trouble finding their footing in their pre-league season as they entered league play winless with several cancelled games.

Things turned around early into league play though, as the Bruins soundly beat Douglas 3-0 and managed to defeat Lost River in the first round before taking two close losses in turn.

North Bend and Siuslaw proved to be tough opponents, beating the Bruins soundly in all six games played, but the Bruins ended the season on a high note by playing three close games against Marshfield, though in the end, they went 0-3.

The Bruins ultimately went 4-11 in league play to land at fifth place in the 4A Far West League. They ended the season 5-18 overall, ranked No. 34 in the OSAA 4A rankings. Over half the team graduated, making this upcoming spring season a big rebuilding year for Bruins softball as they look to establish themselves in a new 3A league.

Track and Field

The Bruins had a huge year for track and field as two star seniors, Ryan Steendahl and Bailey Stamm, walked away with medals from the 4A boys state meet. The girls relay team managed to beat out North Bend for a spot at state and ended up taking 13th place at the state level.

Despite losing some high-ranking seniors, the Bruins will also have access to a larger pool of returning competitors this spring. The majority of the relay team will return and Chloe McCrae will be returning for her senior year after falling just short of state for discus at the regional meet last spring.

Christian Steendahl will also be following in his brother’s footsteps by competing in pole vault. Members of the Bruins state-placing cross country team have also expressed interest in running track this spring, with freshman Kaleb Barnes looking to be headed for state once again this year.

Golf

The Bruins golf team was young this year but still boasted the talent to make for a good building year for the team.

The Bruins season culminated at the regional tournament where they managed to take fifth place out of nine teams. Only the top three teams were eligible to advance through, ending the Bruins season there.

In their final meet of the year, Bret Darger took the top spot for the team at 174, followed by Nathaniel Bernard at 190 and Cameron Kime at 193. Luke Beaman and Zack Walker came in at 208 and 213 respectively.

With a young team and a few potential new recruits moving up this year, the Bruins are building towards a strong program this spring.

Boys soccer

It was a tremendous year for the Bruins soccer team as they dominated their new 3A league and went nearly undefeated their entire season before being stopped in the quarter-final round of the playoffs.

The Bruins only lost a single game in their pre-league season against the 4A Mazama Vikings. They went entirely undefeated in league as they rolled over most of their opponents and were scored on only once by South Umpqua. At 12-0 in league and an untouchable first-place spot, the Bruins advanced to the playoffs.

In the first round, the Bruins took on the Rogue River Chieftains, who they defeated 4-0. The quarter-finals proved more challenging as they lost a close 4-3 game against Riverside.

The Bruins were 15-2 overall this season and ranked No. 4 in the OSAA 4A rankings. They said goodbye to seven seniors, including Luke Beaman, who was MVP for the league this year and was recognized by the OSAA, Max Preps, league and state for an incredible season.

Beaman broke the school record for goals this year with 44 goals and 29 assists, shattering the former 29-goal record.

Girls soccer

The Bruins excelled in their new league this year as they went nearly undefeated in their regular season and made it to the quarterfinals of the state championships before being defeated by the state champions.

The Bruins began league with only a single loss against Eureka on their record but came out in force to ensure they wouldn’t suffer another defeat all season. They ended up going 10-0 without a single league opponent scoring more than one point on them. With the league title secure, the Bruins advanced to the first round of the 3A state championships where they faced the Lakeview Honkers in the first round.

The Bruins bested the Honkers at a close 3-2 before advancing to the quarter-finals to take on Oregon Episcopal. The Bruins weren’t able to overcome the state champions though and ended their season with a 7-0 loss.

The Bruins wrapped things up at 14-2 overall this season, ranked No. 6 in the OSAA 3A rankings. They graduated four seniors this year.

Football

With new head coach Shaun Bavaro at the helm, the Bruins had their best football season in recent memory this fall.

The Bruins opened with a clean 26-6 win against the Gold Beach Panthers before a tragic 36-0 loss against Del Norte the following week. From there, the Bruins bounced back with a four-game winning streak that led into league play.

In league, the Bruins won their first two games with a 28-7 win against South Umpqua and a nail-biting 19-18 win against Douglas. The Bruins then hit a wall when they went up against St. Mary’s and Cascade Christian, private schools that are both regarded as the two top teams in Oregon at the 3A.

St. Mary’s defeated the Bruins at a heavy 49-7 while Cascade Christian took a 59-20 win. Despite the wide gap, the Bruins scored more points against Cascade Christian than any other team in the league.

With a 2-2 league record, the Bruins season came down to a game against Hidden Valley, who were tied for third place in the league at 2-2. Ultimately, Hidden Valley defeated the Bruins 24-12, but their season wouldn’t end there.

The Bruins managed to extend their season by winning an at-large bid for the 3A state championship. This matched the Bruins up against Amity, ranked No. 2 in the 3A rankings.

Amity defeated the Bruins in the first round of playoffs 52-6, with the Bruins sneaking in a single touchdown in the last few seconds of the game.

The Bruins wrapped things up at an even 5-5 overall for the season, ranked No. 15 in the OSAA 3A rankings, with their first trip to the state playoffs in a decade under their belts. The team graduates eight seniors this year but still boasts a large pool of incoming junior and senior players.

Moving forward, Bavaro hopes to continually cultivate interest in the local football programs by running youth leagues and workshops. Capitalizing on an exciting first year, he hopes to make Friday night football games a big event for the community.

Volleyball

It was a rough year for the Bruins volleyball team as they still work towards establishing a good foundation for the program. The team ended up 3-16 overall this year and were ranked No. 29 in the OSAA 4A rankings.

While the Bruins started their season on a high note with a clean 3-0 win against Bandon, they struggled to find their footing for much of the season. While the team managed two more wins in non-league games against Illinois Valley, they ended up 0-10 in league play to end their season in sixth place of the 3A Far West League.

The Bruins graduated five seniors this year this year, but still have a strong base of experienced juniors and seniors coming in next year to keep building up the program.

Cross country

Despite fielding a young team, the boys cross country team proved to be the powerhouse of their new 3A league this year. They took first in the league with freshman Kaleb Barnes as their frontrunner. Barnes secured the top-ranked spot midway through the season and led the team to victory at districts.

In the end, Barnes came in seventh overall at state, with the Bruins taking sixth place out of nine teams with 133 points. Bruins coach Terry Axel was impressed at the Bruin’s performance overall this year and is looking forward to a strong season next year, especially with Barnes leading the team.

The girls’ team struggled much of the season to field the numbers for a full team but had a decent year to build up the program.

With a good group of young talent, the Bruins are looking at a very strong year in 2018. Axel is hoping a lot of the running talent will keep busy with track and field come springtime.

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