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Brillington, Granite Bay fight to finish in loss to Bethel

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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VALLEJO--Nate Brillington went out guns blazing. He went out driving, slashing, attacking and spinning, too. Brillington even made the home fans ooh and ahh over his moves.

But the senior guard's 24-point effort, while entertaining and impressive, wasn't enough for 12th-seeded Granite Bay in an 81-62 loss to No. 5 Bethel in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I basketball playoffs Wednesday night.

"I have no regrets," a smiling Brillington said outside the locker room, his last-game tears left on the bench after he and the other starters were pulled for substitutes in the final minutes. "I had a great group of guys around me. We didn't get as far as our goal, but we had a great time."

The senior-heavy Jaguars (22-5), as it turned out, had several Brillingtons--some big Brillingtons, too. Daseion Cole, a 6-foot-5 senior, had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including two three-pointers, and nine rebounds. Junior Edward Moore scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting and grabbed five of his seven rebounds on the offensive end. Senior Corey Burrell came off the bench to score 12 of his 14 points in the fourth period to help Bethel pull away after the Grizzlies (14-14) pulled within eight. And senior guard Rodney Cook had 11 points and an impressive eight assists.

"They have some special kids," Granite Bay coach Jason Sitterud said of Bethel. "They had some kids literally jumping over us."

With junior center Scott Romuk heating up, the Grizzlies pulled within eight twice, on a tip-in by Romuk late in the third quarter and a three-pointer by senior Jerry Hansen to make it 58-50 with 5:55 left in the game. Hansen hit three three-pointers and scored 17 points, and Romuk scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and grabbed nine rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

Granite Bay missed several opportunities in the first half--when the Grizzlies shot 7 for 22 from the floor--and its ultimate undoing was 22 turnovers, several of which Bethel converted into fast breaks. The biggest occurred early in the fourth period, when the Grizzlies had possession after pulling within eight. A turnover ended with a Bethel layup on the other end, and the Jaguars led 60-50.

"We just missed a layup," Sitterud said with a shrug.

But the Grizzlies--with Brillington leading the charge--kept coming. Brillington gave the Granite Bay fans--and Bethel's--one more head-shaking moment with a nifty up-and-under layup against 6-8 Bethel presence Joshua Bynum, who flailed at air.
Brillington canned a three-pointer for the final points of his high school career.

"I'm proud Nate was able to go out with a good game like that," Sitterud said. "I'm proud of the guys. They worked really hard. We got everything out of them."

VALLEJO-BETHEL 81, GRANITE BAY 62

Granite Bay (62)
Bertolino 1 0-1 2, Ciraulo 1 1-2 3, Romuk 4 4-5 12, Brillington 9 5-9 24, Hansen 6 2-3 17, Arai 0 0-0 0, King 1 0-0 2, Pedersen 0 0-0 0, McPhaul 0 0-0 0, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Osterstock 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 12-20 62.

Bethel (81)
Taylor 4 0-0 8, Cook 4 3-4 11, D. Cole 7 1-1 17, Moore 10 4-6 24, Hall 1 1-2 3, Bynum 2 0-0 4, Burrell 5 3-5 14, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 0-0 0, E. Cole 0 0-0 0. Totals 33 12-18 81.

Granite Bay   10   14   19   19--62
Bethel           18   20   16   27--81

Three-point goals--Granite Bay 4-14 (Hansen 3-9, Brillington 1-3, Bertolino 0-1, King 0-1), Bethel 3-16 (D. Cole 2-5, Burrell 1-4, Moore 0-3, Taylor 0-1, Cook 0-1, Thomas 0-2). Total fouls--Granite Bay 16, Bethel 18. Rebounds--Granite Bay 22 (Romuk 9), Bethel 35 (D. Cole 9). Assists--Granite Bay 12 (Brillington 3), Bethel 15 (Cook 8). Turnovers--Granite Bay 22, Bethel 21.