The Brookings-Harbor Lady Bruins did themselves proud on Friday, Feb. 21, blowing past the Cascade Christian Challengers, 55-36, in a state seeding matchup that determined which of the two 3A-5 Far West rivals would lock up home-court advantage for the first round of the Oregon Schools Athletic Association (O.S.A.A.) this Friday, Feb. 28.
Each team had beaten the other by similar 3- to 4-point margins during regular-season play. This game’s outcome cemented BHHS’ right to host the first round in the Bruin’s home gym.
Lady Bruins coach Chris Schofield’s team unleashed a torrent of three-point shots responsible for 24 of Brookings’ 55 points, keeping the Lady Challengers at bay for the entire contest.
After BHHS’ Sidney Alexander uncorked the first trey seconds after tipoff, Lexee Murray dialed in her long-range game, contributing two more to put the Blue and Gold in the driver’s seat by period’s end 15-7.
Challengers’ Elliana Hagloch hit a buzzer-beater three-point shot to make it 7 rather than 4 for CCHS.
The second quarter started the same as the first with Murray stepping up again to bucket another long ball 20 seconds in making it 18-7 Brookings.
The Lady Bruins utilizing a stifling 2-3 zone defense methodically pulled away. They were up 20-10 midway through the quarter until Cascade Christian narrowed the lead at halftime, 25-19. Alexander chipped in her second triple in the final minute.
After intermission, the Challengers lived up to their namesake keeping the game interesting pulling within 4 points three times in the game, two of those close calls coming in the third period, 25-21 and 30-26.
Brookings managed to maintain a 7-point advantage, outscoring their guests to make it 38-31 with one period left to go as Brookings’ Sierra Fitzhugh and Lexi Schofield each knocked down a three-pointer.
In the final stretch, Brookings locked up the game, earning the second-place spot in league behind undefeated Sutherlin by outscoring their 3A-5 Far West rival 17-5. Alexander canned her team’s final three-pointer to break the backs of the Challengers and put the game away, 55-36.
Now No. 5 ranked BHHS hosts Salem Academy at 6 p.m. on Friday to open O.S.A.A. 3A State playoff action.
The Crusaders (19-7) are ranked No. 12 in the state, finishing second in the 3A-2 Pac West Conference, boasting a 9-1 league record, behind conference champions Yam-Hill Carlton (17-8, 9-1) overall, whom Salem Academy lost to by one point, 43-42 in a tough seeding game on Saturday, Feb. 22. Each team had defeated the other in league play. That single-point loss delegated the Lady Crusaders to a 5-hour road trip to Curry County to face the Lady Bruins.
On the other side of the bracket from Brookings-Harbor is No. 4 Willamina going against the Bruins’ familiar bunkmate No. 13 Cascade Christian.