The Lady Bruins basketball team found themselves in a scoring hole early in the game during the first round of their 3A State Playoff game against Salem Academy in Brookings on Friday evening.
The 12th-seeded Crusaders managed to build a head of steam by knocking down a couple of three-pointers combined with some fast-break runs to build a double-digit lead.
The hometown crowd may have fretted a bit seeing their team behind by double-digits briefly, before trailing 20-11 at the close of the first period.
It wasn't the start fifth-seeded Brookings-Harbor hoped for.
Down, but certainly not out, BHHS coach Chris Schofield dialed in a defense that kept the Crusaders big post, 6-foot-1 Chloe Baker at bay and fought back against a feisty Crusaders defense that had kept the Bruins explosive three-point game bottled up for most of the contest.
It was a BHHS team effort with Alonna Nalls, Gracie Harms, and Avana Pettus running interference so the Lady Bruins big guns, Lexi Schofield, Sidney Alexander, and Sierra Fitzhugh could start blasting away at the Crusaders’ lead.
By halftime Brookings-Harbor cut the visitor’s lead to eight, trailing Salem Academy 34-26 by outscoring their northern state opponents 15-14 in the second quarter.
Third-period action saw the Bruins continue to chip away at the Crusaders’ lead, narrowing the gap to 42-36.
In the final frame, Alexander hit a jumper to make it a four-point game, 42-38. Then teammate, Lexee Murray, did what she does best under pressure, canning a layup to make it a two-point contest, 42-40 before getting the ball right back and nailing an important trey to put some hope in the Bruins’ sails nabbing the lead for the first time in the game 43-42.
Aubrey Smith grabbed the lead back 44-43 and got a point at the charity stripe to make it Salem Academy, 45-43.
Schofield came right back to lock it up at 45 with under 5 minutes left in regulation. Then Alexander stepped up as she has all season and hit a critical 3-point shot to put BHHS up 48-45.
Things were looking promising for the Bruins as Shelby Jirsa bucketed a ball to put Brookings ahead 50-45 with under 2 minutes left in the game. The Bruins hoped to slow-walk it to the finish line but, once again, the Crusaders went to work getting to within 52-48.
With 15 seconds left on the clock, Salem's Annabelle Brawley hits a clutch 3-pointer to pull the Crusaders to 52-51. BHHS Pettus was intentionally fouled on the inbound and sank two free throws giving BHHS a 54-51 lead with :04 on the clock.
On the inbounds play, Lady Bruin Alexander stole the ball but the Crusaders grabbed it back and Brawley quickly launched a buzzer-beater that went in sending the game into overtime.
In overtime play the difference would be the Bruins making their free throws by an 8-1 margin over the Crusaders to put the game on ice 62-55, sending BHHS to the quarterfinals.
The Bruins advanced to play fourth-ranked Willamina (21-6) at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday at North Bend High School. Willamina defeated Cascade Christian, 50-31, on their portion of the bracket.
Leading scorers for Brookings-Harbor were Schofield with 23, Alexander with 16, and Fitzhugh with 10. Salem Academy was led by Brawley with 15 and Baker with 10.