BREWSTER — Tim Taylor coached the Brewster boys basketball program to three state titles in the 2000s, so he is plenty familiar with the pressure that comes with loser-out playoff scenarios. A lot of his players on his current squad aren’t; half of his rotation consists of freshmen. Therefore, Taylor kept his message simple before the Bears’ bi-district play-in game against Quincy on Tuesday at Champions Gymnasium.
“He said (that) it’s the playoffs, and everyone’s 0-0, and the (earlier) wins and losses don’t matter at this point, and that we’d have to be ready to play for our season,” said junior guard Easton Driessen.
The young Bears squad played with veteran composure in the second half Tuesday to beat the Jackrabbits 55-43. By doing so, Brewster ensured that it will have at least two more chances this season to become familiar with the types of games that it’s hoping to play many more of in the next several years.
“This was the biggest game they’ve every played in, high-school wise,” Taylor said. “I thought we played well for the most part. It was do-or-die, and I knew that it’d be a tight game. I’m proud of our kids that they were able to get to Spokane (for this weekend’s bi-district tournament), but now it’s back to square one.”
The Bears, as the Caribou Trail League’s No. 4 seed, will take on Medical Lake, the top seed from the Northeast A League, on Friday at West Valley (Spokane) High School.
“We have to prepare this week for Friday and take it one game at a time,” Driessen said. “We’re improving all the time. We’re pushing ourselves in every practice.”
Brewster beat Quincy because of two factors: it widened its five-point halftime lead by hitting four 3-pointers in the third quarter (two each from Parker Landdeck and Timbo Taylor), and Driessen held Jacob Durfee, the CTL’s fifth-leading scorer in the regular season, to just four points.
“We were up and down (this season),” said Quincy coach Wade Petersen, whose team finished the year with a 9-12 mark. “Injuries hit us, and we could never really get in sync. I thought we could’ve played a lot better tonight than we did. I thought if we could stay in the game until the end that we could have a chance, but we couldn’t stay close long enough.”
Landdeck and Driessen, the league’s third-leading scorer, had 14 points apiece for the Bears. Mario Figueroa tallied 16 points for the Jackrabbits.
Chelan 54, Tonasket 34
Chelan fed off Erick Oscarson’s offensive production early, got a spark from Eli Jenkins off the bench in the second quarter and applied enough defensive pressure to keep Tonasket from threatening.
“You win, you go on, and you have to be able to defend in the playoffs,” coach Joe Harris said. “Our guys had moments of defending well, and if we continue to do that, we’ll be just fine.”
Aaron Schramm led all scorers with 12 points, and Oscarson, who scored six points in the first quarter, finished the night with 10.
The Goats will take on Chewelah on Friday in a first-round bi-district contest.
Okanogan 47, Cascade 41
Okanogan, playing without leading scorer Kara Staggs, found a way to beat Cascade and advance to the bi-district tournament.
Staggs, who averaged 20 points per game this season, injured her right knee late in the third quarter of the Bulldogs’ loss to Chelan on Friday. Bulldogs coach Bryan Boesel said Tuesday that Staggs has been diagnosed with a grade-one sprain, and her status for this weekend is questionable.
Caitlyn Behymer led all scorers with 17 points, and the Bulldogs steadily pulled away from the Kodiaks in the second half after watching Cascade tie the game heading into halftime.
“This team showed so much with Kara being out. A lot of people stepped up,” Boesel said. “We’ll prepare to not have Kara this weekend, and if we get her back, we’re that much tougher.”
Cashmere 56, Omak 32
Cashmere seniors Angela Knishka and Kaylee Caudill scored 16 points apiece, and Cashmere advanced to bi-district play with a win over Omak.
The Bulldogs will take on Freeman on Friday in a first-round match-up. The Scotties ended Cashmere’s season last year in bi-district play.