EASTLAND — The Big Spring Steers' trip through the 2012 basketball playoffs was brief and, at times, painful.
The Burkburnett Bulldogs unleashed an offensive and defensive storm in the first quarter en route to a 65-42 victory over the Steers in their Class 3A bi-district playoff game at Eastland High School Tuesday night.
The first eight minutes of the game was a nightmare clad in orange — orange being the predominant color of Burkburnett's jerseys — for the Steers. Quite simply, the Bulldogs did little wrong, while Big Spring couldn't establish a rhythm on either side of the court.
Burkburnett established its dominance early, sinking its first four field goal attempts — including three straight from Mario Garcia, who led the Bulldogs with 19 points — to go up by 11 points only three minutes into the game.
But Burkburnett's shooting was only part of problem facing BSHS — the Bulldogs' full-court trapping defense overwhelmed Big Spring in the early going, forcing 11 turnovers and limiting the Steers to only two points in the first quarter.
“During practice, I told our guys to just assume they'd make their shots, because they're very good on offense,” BSHS Coach Cilff Thompson said. “But you can't practice that kind of defense. There's no way you can simulate the speed and tempo Burkburnett plays at.”
After the first quarter, which ended with the Bulldogs holding a 20-2 lead, the Steers played Burkburnett on fairly even footing, but by then, the damage had been done. Still, both coaches were impressed with the way Big Spring picked itself off the mat after the Bulldogs' opening blitz.
“We just got off to a terrific start, but after that, I thought Big Spring's defense made a difference in the game,” Burkburnett Coach Danny Nix said. “They made us do some things we didn't want to do.”
“The only way this ended up a 20-point game instead of a 50-point game is that the guys stepped up,” Thompson said.
Chazzell Robinson led the Steers (15-18) with 21 points.
Afterward, Thompson expressed pride in the accomplishments of his team, which began the season with only two returning starters.
“With a young team … you never know what's going to happen,” Thompson said. “But to go from some terrible losses early in the season to being able to compete with one of the best Class 3A teams in the state, each individual player got better as the season went along. That's what I'm proudest of.”
Burkburnett 20 18 14 13 — 65
Big Spring 2 10 18 12 — 42
BURKBURNETT (65) — Mario Garcia 7 2-2 19; Shawn Raymond 1 0-0 2; Tyler Clement 4 3-3 13; Kent Wingfield 1 0-0 2; Blaine Curren 2 0-0 4; Elijah Strickland 5 0-0 14; Nico Lynott 1 0-0 3; Matt Everson 0 1-2 1; Bryce Hollingsworth 0 1-2 1; Aaron Coker 2 0-0 5; Justin Bell 1 0-0 2; totals 24 8-11 65.
BIG SPRING (45) — Marc Segundo 0 2-2 2; Tyler Graves 2 0-0 4; Tyler Wigington 1 0-0 2; Tavaris Walker 2 3-4 8; Richard Lewis 1 1-3 3; Ty Sealy 1 0-0 2; Chazzell Robinson 10 1-5 21; totals 17 7-4 42.
Three point goals — Burkburnett 10 (Garcia 3, Clement 2, Strickland 4, Lynott), Big Spring1 (Walker). Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.