When it comes to 2B basketball, especially at tournament time, few school names are spoken with as much reverence as Brewster.
And if that’s the name on the jersey of your opponent, well, it’s a reason to be fired up.
Just ask the Fighting Ducks fans cheering on Toutle Lake and its 41-32 State 2B quarterfinal win over the Bears Thursday evening in the Hardwood Classic at the Spokane Arena. But listen closely – they’re a little more hoarse than usual.
“I’m sure the kids know all about Brewster and its history,” Toutle Lake coach Larry Hoff said. “But we came here with some history of our own. We knew they would be a good team, but we have something of our own to prove here.”
The Ducks placed third here a year ago and are making their third consecutive state appearance and sixth in the past seven years.
Brewster is at state for the first time since 2007 and none of first-year coach Randy Phillips’ players has state tournament experience. Phillips, on the other hand, coached Republic and Colville to state tournament appearances six times and led the Tigers to the State B title in the old Spokane Coliseum exactly 30 years ago. His assistant coach, Jeni Boesel, scored 2,728 points during four years at Brewster, leading the Bears to three State 1A titles, in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
Toutle Lake, with five seniors in the starting lineup, most of them with long, long arms, collected six blocked shots and kept the typically hot-shooting Bears to 22.4 percent from the field.
The Ducks got timely scoring down the stretch, including a big 3-pointer from post Nichole Locke that took much of air out of Brewster’s comeback attempt in the fourth quarter.
Christian Carlson knocked down 12 points to lead Toutle Lake, with fellow guard Shelby Wason adding 10.
“We feel we have a little something to prove here,” Hoff said. “We played Colfax pretty tough last year (in the semifinals) and lost. We’re here to win games and we have the experienced kids who can do it.”
Brewster got 19 points from standout sophomore guard Becky Mae Taylor, whose dad, Tim, coached the Brewster boys to three State 1A titles and brother, Michael, leads Whitworth in an NCAA Division III second-round tournament game Saturday.
Freshman point guard Chandler Smith, who averaged 17.5 points per game during the regular season, was held to four points.
“I leaned over to one of my assistant coaches and said, ‘This game is going to be decided by a four-point run somewhere. I just hope that run comes to us,’” Phillips said.
Toutle Lake and its all-senior starting lineup plays Lake Roosevelt, a 50-30 winner over Adna in the first quarterfinal of the day. The Raiders do not have a senior on their roster.