The Brookhaven High School boys basketball team proved it could overcome a contrasting style during a 57-43 victory over Watterson in a Division II district final March 9 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Facing an Eagles team known for slow-paced games, the Bearcats’ quickness propelled them to their first regional tournament since 2006.
Led by Khalid King and Randal Clarkson, who scored 23 and 18 points, respectively, Brookhaven improved to 19-5. Watterson finished 17-7.
The Bearcats play Defiance or Sandusky Perkins in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the University of Toledo.
“We wanted to pressure them because we knew we were quicker,” Clarkson said. “We wanted to speed them up and make it an up-tempo game because we knew all of their games were low-scoring games.”
Brookhaven led 11-4 after one quarter and 22-8 midway through the second.
Watterson cut it to 24-14 with 1 minute, 33 seconds to go in the first half, but King was fouled while making a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left and then hit the free throw to make it 28-14 at halftime.
During the third quarter, Brookhaven forced nine turnovers and led by as much as 42-16.
Watterson, which rallied to within 52-42 with 47.4 seconds remaining, got 12 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks from Bryan Jackson and eight points and five rebounds from Jake Brobst.
“We had a few objectives that we didn’t accomplish early,” Eagles coach Vince Lombardo said. “(Brookhaven’s) a great team and it’s difficult to do the things we wanted to do with their quickness. Their pressure really bothered us.”
Brookhaven has won 11 district championships, with the other 10 coming in Division I.
“You always hope your kids are committed to play from the defensive end like we were tonight,” Bearcats coach Hali Robinson said. “It was a second-half foul marathon, but I thought our kids were committed to taking away clean-look shots.”