BRUSH PRAIRIE — Prairie senior Seth Hall has experienced the high school basketball playoffs before.
Hall, a 6-foot-3 guard, matched a career-high with 30 points to lead the Falcons to a 56-44 victory over Peninsula in a first round game of the Class 3A boys bi-district basketball tournament played Wednesday at Prairie High School.
“This is Seth’s third year playing in the West Central playoffs,’’ said Prairie coach Kyle Brooks. “I think that experience really has paid off for him.’’
Last season as a junior, Hall not only participated in the playoffs but he also played the entire season at a very high level, just as Brooks said he has done this season. In 2015-16, Hall was awarded the Falcons’ “Best Offensive Player’’ Award and was also named to the Greater St. Helens League Class 3A all-league first team.
“I also think he is playing some of his best basketball ever right,’’ Brooks confirmed of Hall. “He keeps improving and has been a worthy captain too.’’
Thanks in large part to Hall, Prairie jumped out to a 16-4 lead after the first quarter of the win over Peninsula.
“We were anxious to play and came out with really good energy in the first quarter,’’ said Brooks, whose team improved its season record to 19-2 with the victory. “We worked on doing a better job moving our feet defensively and getting our hands up. It looked really good early in that game.’’
Peninsula fought back, outscoring the Falcons in both the second and third quarters. Heading into the final eight minutes of the game, Prairie’s lead had been trimmed to five points at 37-32. However, Prairie regained control of the game in the final period to cruise to the double-digit victory.
“We hit some big shots and rebounded very well,’’ said Brooks of his team’s play in the fourth quarter. “(Matthew) Kogler and (Dwayne) Stewart had some big rebounds down the stretch as well as (Ethan) Rouse. On offense we hit some big shots after they had closed the gap. (Braiden) Broadbent and Hall both answered after Peninsula (had its) run late in game.’’
As important as Hall was to the Prairie victory, the Falcons’ defensive effort was also a key to their success.
“Our goal every game is an under 50 and one single-digit quarter,’’ said Brooks, referring to the amount of points his team allows the opponents to score. “Peninsula did not score a field goal in the first (quarter) and only scored off of free throws. We were pretty focused at the start.’’
Prairie faces a key game Friday night when it faces Timberline in the bi-district quarterfinals. The game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. at Timberline High School. A Falcons’ win would send Prairie to the state tournament. A loss would require three consecutive victories to get to state.
“The key for Friday night is to keep it simple and stay loose and aggressive,’’ Brooks said. “That is when we are at our best. We have a nice balanced attack on most nights. I think another big key will be everyone doing their job at both ends of the floor. We will need to contain and slow down Timberline’s transition offense and limit shots for their key guards. We just need to be focused and go and play our game. I am excited for the opportunity tomorrow night as our guys have worked hard all year to get to this point.’’