Experience matters.

When Brookings-Harbor boys’ basketball coach Jess Beaman surveyed the roster of Cascade Christian High School, he was keenly aware of one thing: the No.7-ranked Challengers were returning all five of their starters from last season.

That was on full display in Medford last Friday evening, as the hometown team rolled to a 61-49 victory.

The Bruins, ranked No. 23 in the state, held their own during the first period, grabbing an 18-16 lead in a see-saw contest.

Brookings was getting its buckets the old-school way … two points at a time. As for Cascade Christian? The Challengers hit three long balls for nine of their 16 points.

As the second quarter got underway, Cascade Christian turned to a speed-demon offense and a suffocating, hand-in-the-face defense that resulted in a 23-8 scoring spree.

That, along with two late-period steals, had the home team sitting pretty heading into the locker room at halftime, 39-26.

Cascade Christian maintained a 12- to 13-point advantage for most of the third period, until Brookings-Harbor got some traction to make it 48-38.

But in the final frame, the Challengers once again relied on their perimeter game, launching three long balls to lead by 15 with three minutes to go.

Brookings answered with its own 3-pointer by Fabian Villa with a minute left in the game, but it was too little, too late.

Cascade Christian, under coach Brian Morse, moved to 1-0 on the young season, with the Bruins now at 0-1.

Top scorers for Brookings were Evan Fronckowiak (15) and Jason Vanginderen (13).

The Challengers relied on Layne Collum (13) Donminic Lewis (11).

Next up: Brookings-Harbor hosts the Douglas Trojans on Tuesday, a team they defeated 79-59 in pre-season.

On Friday, the Bruins take to the road against Sutherlin.

Game times are 5:30 p.m.

Meantime, the Brookings JV boys team fell to Cascade Christian 43-47 after rallying back from a 17-point deficit at the end of three.

The Lady Bruins JV rocked the Challengers, 62-19.

(Randy Robbins has covered Curry County prep sports on radio and in print for more than 20 years.)

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