Bartlesville Bruins scrum at home
As it turned up on Thursday, the Bartlesville High Bruin basketball team turned out to have an extra-powerful thermometer.
In the first three quarters, Bruin University played with flashes of heat and cold and sizzle in the home scrimmage against a very salty Victory Christian School team.
But, in the final period, the Bruins pulled full blast and kept pumping fuel.
Spurred on by David Castillo with 12 points, the Bruins beat Victory Christian, 20-10, in the final quarter.
Castillo struggled all afternoon to find the mark with his shot from downtown, but was virtually unstoppable to attack the basket.
âHe’s doing a good job getting into the field and finishing in the lane,â said Bruins head coach Clent Stewart. “We want him to be aggressive and have the ability to prepare everyone.”
Several other Bruins also played during the intense action – but in good spirits.
âI thought our transition attack was fantastic,â said Stewart. “We had some easy rim early and did a really good job sharing the ball early.”
On the defensive side, Stewart praised his team’s concentration in man-to-man.
âWhen we went to our secondary defense with a zone I didn’t think we played well,â he said. âOverall we did a good job. Victory Christian did a good job. They are a good team in their class.
Stewart’s first five starters included Castillo, Jordan Carter and Aadhi Ayyappan in the backcourt, and Nick Smith and Kent Girard at the post.
Castillo is a returning sophomore who led the team in scoring (24.2 points per game) last season. Carter is a second-year senior starter and dangerous three-point shooter as well as a fast and heady ball handler.
Ayyappan is a junior rookie in his second year and also had a lot of quality time in college as a freshman. He has many of the same strengths as Carter, but is also perhaps the best defenseman on the team. It has the ability to close the gap in less than the blink of an eye to put pressure on a shooter or block their shot.
Smith is a second-year senior starter who energizes the team with his rebound, inner defense and ability to score around the rim.
Girard is a new senior starter for the Bruins, but has played the previous three seasons for the Washington County HomeSchool Alliance (WACHA) home team.
It injects solid play inside, hustle and bustle at all points of the pitch, and an extensive shooting range.
Several other players also did some really good things for both college and Jayvee during the melee.
Daron Davis, a transfer from Caney Valley High School (Kan.), Displayed speed and athleticism in his role as a playmaker.
âI think he did a really good job finding guys in transition,â Stewart said of Davis. âHe understands we want him to be aggressive and help guys get open shots. â¦ If we get him to push the ball and play at a fast pace all the time he’s there, he could really help us.
Riley Duong also displayed refined skills including a driving layup on the left side of the rim baseline.
Sophomore Simian Gilkey – who just received medical clearance – also played for several minutes. He did a good job keeping on the wing and playing hard, but he’s still bouncing back at full capacity.
Cooper Wood and Caleb Rogers both brought height, dynamism and strength to the mix.
Wood is a returning sophomore who performed in a sixth / seventh man role last year, as was Gilkey.
As mentioned, the Bruins started the fray strong.
Ayyappan and Girard both had free throws – which each counted for two points in the scrum format – to help the Bruins take a big lead.
Carter netted a brace to make it a 12-7 lead.
Moments later, Ayyappan missed a trey from the right corner, but Girard was there below to make the out and push the Bruins to a 14-7 advantage.
Victory Christian ended with a flurry of points, but Castillo secured the Bruins the quarter-win, 16-14, with a two-point free throw.
In the next quarter, Victory Christian took a 5-0 lead, but Castillo helped prepare the Bruins with a full pass to Girard for a layup.
Davis helped prepare Girard for the next bucket to make it a 5-4 game.
Castillo then struck. He leapt towards the hoop and did an aerial hook in front of the hoop to propel Bartlesville ahead, 6-5.
The teams continued to trade points, including a bucket from Carter to tie the score, 13-13, and a long-distance net-buster from Ayyappan, on a transition push from Castillo, to hoist Bartlesville in front, 16 -13.
Davis also scored late and the Bruins won the quarterfinal, 21-15.
Stewart felt that in that quarter the team stopped sharing the ball as effectively. He said he has his players left, which is a key part of Bartlesville’s strength.
In the last college quarter, the Bruins turned out to be business early on.
Ayyappan stole the ball and missed a shot, but Girard was there for the offensive tip and the takedown.
Soon after, Castillo took him to the hoop to take a 4-0 lead.
After Victory Christian entered the board, Carter knocked down a two-point pointer and Castillo went coast-to-coast on a defensive rebound to take the Bruin lead to 8-4.
Bartlesville got the ball back on a steal, which resulted in Castillo heading for the hoop without the ball, getting the pass and scoring.
Castillo also sounded a bucket on the Bruins’ next possession to make it 12-6.
Castillo put two more points on the board – on a free throw – to put it in an eight-point lead, 14-6.
The Bruins recovered the ball, leading to a Smith layup to widen the lead to 10 points, 16-6.
Bartlesville finished his scoring with a free throw two points from Girard and a drive and basic layup to the left of Castillo.
Bartlesville’s next scrum is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday at home.
The Bruins open the season with a roadtrip to Texas on the weekend of November 26-27.