CASHMERE — The Brewster girls basketball team almost won the 2B state championship last season. The Bears might have just as good a chance to win the 1A title this season.
Through the first half of Caribou Trail League play, Brewster has clearly asserted itself as the league’s top team; during the past week, the unbeaten Bears have defeated the three other top teams in a ridiculously talented CTL — Okanogan, Chelan and Cashmere, which fell to Brewster 52-38 on Tuesday at Ron Doane Gymnasium.
“We were excited (to move into the CTL),” said Bears star Chandler Smith, who led all scorers with 25 points on Tuesday. “We knew that we’d have to work hard to get wins, and so far, so good. We’re going out and playing as hard as we can every game, because every game is a new game, and you never know what will happen. We don’t focus on the past; we’re always looking ahead into the future.
“Of course we want to get to state and win the title, but we have to take it step by step.”
With a 7-0 CTL record, Brewster (13-0 overall) is one-and-a-half games ahead of Chelan (10-1, 5-1) for the league lead, with Cashmere (6-7, 4-3) and Okanogan (10-3, 4-3) sitting in a tie for third place.
“Obviously, this was a tough stretch for us,” said Bears coach Roger Boesel. “I’m glad to be sitting where we’re at after these last three games. Cashmere has lots of good athletes, and we knew what they were capable of. We didn’t take anything for granted.”
The Bulldogs are getting healthier after a brutal early-season stretch of injuries, and are utilizing their trademark high-pressure defense with more success (they held Brewster to 22 points under its season points-per-game average), but for the third straight game didn’t shoot well; the Bulldogs converted just 26 percent of their shots from the field.
“We just have to start shooting and executing on offense with confidence,” said Cashmere coach Chris Cloakey. “We’ll see these teams (Okanogan, Chelan, Brewster) again in a few weeks, and we’re going to do a lot to improve between now and then.”
Cashmere 60, Brewster 55
Cashmere picked up a crucial victory by rallying from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit against a young Brewster team to move into third place in the CTL ahead of the Bears.
With the score tied at 53-53 with about two minutes to go, the Bulldogs (8-5, 5-2) went on a 7-0 run — a 3-pointer by Jordan Christensen, a baseline jumper by Coleman McElroy and a transition layup by Dylan Boyd (game-high 26 points) — to seal the victory.
“The kids did a good job on defense (in the fourth quarter). Easton Driessen was killing us, and we had to get the ball out of his hands,” said Cashmere assistant coach Levi Heyen, filling in for head coach Keith Boyd, who suffered a bout of appendicitis on Saturday. “We have a lot of experience with Dylan, Jordan and Coleman, and those guys made big plays for us.”
Thirty-seven of Brewster’s (9-4, 4-3) points were scored by freshmen; Josh Hammons’ 17 points led the team.
“We have young guys that don’t know how to put games away,” said Bears coach Tim Taylor. “(Cashmere) got physical, and we panicked and turned the ball over. They wanted it more than we did.”