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Semifinal game is at 1:30 p.m. March 6 against Clatskanie

Brookings-Harbor’s girls shoot a lot of 3-pointers and usually make a pretty good percentage of them. But it was an unlikely trey that helped spark the Bruins to a 53-37 win over Willamina in the quarterfinals at the Class 3A girls basketball state tournament on Thursday at North Bend High School.

After the ball went out of the bounds to the fifth-seeded Bruins with just over a second to go in the first half, they drew up a play. It didn’t go to script, which turned out just fine for Brookings-Harbor as Shelby Jirsa grabbed Lexi Schofield’s long toss on a bounce, turned and fired, the ball going through the hoop to give the Bruins a 28-22 lead at the break.

“I was supposed to pass it to Sierra (Fitzhugh), who was at half court,” Schofield said. “I overthrew it and it went to Shelby, who turned and shot it. It was good court and clock awareness.”

The basket provided a spark.

“That was huge for us coming into the locker room and we had a lot more energy,” Schofield said.

After a first half that saw six ties and five lead changes, Brookings-Harbor was in front the entire second half, including by as many as 17 points after a 16-2 run bridging the third and fourth periods.

That was a stretch when fourth-seeded Willamina went ice cold and the Bruins capitalized.

“I thought we settled down in the second half, kept our poise and made our free throws,” Schofield said. “I’m proud of the poise and the energy.”

Willamina got a basket and free throw from Piper Shrabel at the start of the second half to pull back within three points. Then the Bulldogs didn’t score for a long, long time as the Bruins went on their game-clinching run.

“I thought we came out and played a really good first half,” Willamina coach Tom Anderson said. “A little faster than we wanted, but the shots were falling.

“That third quarter, there was a lid on the basket.”

Willamina tried to come back in the fourth, getting as close as 10 down, but the Bruins made eight free throws in the final two minutes to put a complete rally out of the question.

Brookings-Harbor (19-7) earned a spot in the semifinals Friday, where the Bruins will meet defending champion Clatskanie (20-2).

“I’m impressed with us,” said Brookings-Harbor senior Sidney Alexander, one of three seniors on the squad. "That’s the first time for any of our girls teams that we’ve won in the quarterfinals.”

The Bruins won because they were able to keep in contact with the Bulldogs in the first half with their 3-point shooting — the Bruins had six 3s in the first half (from four different players) and added another two in the second.

And Brookings-Harbor also battled the taller Bulldogs fairly even on the rebounds, another key.

“We struggled with that in the beginning of the year,” Alexander said. “That’s been our focus since November.”

Six different players grabbed at least four boards in the win, including the diminutive Alexander, who is listed at 5-foot-2.

Schofield finished with a team-high 18 points and Alexander added 15, including three 3-pointers.

Kira Rankin led the Bulldogs with 18 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds.

“Our kids never quit,” Anderson said of the Willamina squad. “I’m proud of our kids. They just did a little better at what they want to do than we did.”

Willamina faces Harrisburg in the consolation semifinals Friday morning.

The Bruins, meanwhile, are looking forward to their shot at Clatskanie at 1 p.m. in the Marshfield High School gym.

“We’re excited,” Schofield said. “No team is unbeatable. We’re going to focus on ourselves and play our game.”


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