With the season on the line, the Sumner Spartans didn’t come out intimidated against the Bremerton Knights.
Sumner outscored Bremerton 17-6 in the first quarter and kept its season alive with a 63-48 win in a Class 2A West Central District III loser-out playoff game last Wednesday night at Lakes High School.
Sumner guard Riley Bruil poured in 19 points and Keenan Jackson added 12. Bruil was deadly from the perimeter, and Jackson drove his way to the basket with a wide assortment of layups.
They provided the one-two punch the Spartans needed, head coach Brett McDaniel said.
“Those two kids are extremely special,” he said. “You’ve got the slasher (Jackson), and you’ve got the shooter (Bruil). They feed off each other so well. Riley is probably the most fundamental player I have ever coached. Keenan is just so fast and electric. He makes plays.
“To get to the state tournament, you’ve got to have guards, and we have great guards,” McDaniel said. “We’ll see if we can keep up scrapping out victories.”
Bruil said it was just a matter of executing.
“I think our team has really stepped up lately,” he said. “We always fight back. We knew they (Bremerton) were a good team, and we took it to them.”
The Spartans, who graduated every starter from last year’s team, advanced to the state-regional round for the second year in a row. Already, they have defied preseason expectations.
“It is kind of like the snow,” McDaniel said. “Every time they predict a storm, it never happens. Nobody expected us to do what we’ve done this year, and that is usually when something special happens.
“Something special has happened already,” he added. “It would be nice to keep playing. We are working so hard and are just starting to climb the ladder.”
The Spartans continued their dominance as they beat the Renton Indians 55-53 in the second round of the district tournament. They lost to Sequim in the district semifinals.
Sumner was set to face White River in another district contest after press time Monday.
The Spartans will advance to the state-regional round as either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed from the West Central District, depending on the outcome of their game against White River.
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.