The first 16 minutes of the Lake Braddock boys' basketball season started with frustration, tough luck and a few glimpses of better games to come as Centreville soured the Bruins' season road-opener 54-41 on Dec. 4.
An 18-0 run by Centreville overpowered the Bruins and put up a lead that proved too large to overcome.
"[Centerville] just came out and blitzed us early," said head coach Brian Metress. "That really just shook us."
Metress said the atmosphere of playing in Centreville's home-opener also played a role in the Bruins' defeat.
"We were playing out of our comfort level," he said. "The [opening rush] and the atmosphere of our first game, a lot of our guys haven't been in that situation before."
In the first half, shots that drained through the basket for the Wildcats swirled out of the hoop for the Bruins.
"I told the guys at half-time we had to re-evaluate the shots we took," he said. "I thought we took 12 really good shots in the first half and none of them went in."
Despite the lackluster first half, the Bruins fought back. Patrick McLucas' 12 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter, helped pull the team within 10 near the end of the game. The defense, however, couldn’t hold on for a late comeback attempt.
Despite the disappointing start to the season, Metress said he's not convinced the first half foreshadows the Bruins’ chances when Patriot District play rolls around in January.
"You're never as bad as you look," he said. "We looked bad in the first half, but we looked better in the second half. If we play like we did in the second half, we'll be a lot better off this season."
FOR THE LADY BRUINS, the game against Centreville proved to be somewhat of an inverse of the boys' game.
While the girls charged to a 16-14 lead in the first half and a 10 point lead early in the third quarter, the Lady Bruins were unable to battle back against the Wildcats in the fourth quarter.
Head coach Carl Harris knew exactly what felled his team in the game’s late stages.
"Rebounding was the difference," he said. "We didn't hustle on the boards."
But in sports, some losses are bad and others are good and for the young Bruins team, which lacks a single senior on the roster, a close loss might help to spur future victories.
"We have a lot of young girls, a lot of freshman who play a lot," Harris said. "We got nervous. We'll get better as the season progresses."
Another bright spot in the game was the even distribution of scoring on the girls' team. Seven players recorded points for the Bruins and junior guard Maggie Collins led the team with eight points.
"We can spread the ball around because we know everyone can score," Harris said. "We don't have to rely on one person to score for us."
The younger players also pitched in with freshman Jenny Castillo tallying six points and freshman center Kasey Curtis adding another six.
"Our coach tells us that basketball is a family," Castillo said. "No matter the age of the player, we have to work together [scoring points]."