Junior Kennedie Shuler scores 25; Bruins defense shines in a near-comeback against the undefeated Crusaders.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Kennedie Shuler led the Bruins with 25 points in a 63-59 loss to Jesuit. After a hard-fought game between two of the top girls basketball teams in the state, it all came down to the fourth quarter on Tuesday evening, Dec. 14.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Senior Melanie Hiu fights through a screen Tuesday evening, Dec. 14. Barlow and Jesuit were tied 38-38 headed into the final frame. The Bruins had put on an electrifying defensive performance — with smothering guard play and timely challenges down low to keep things close — and nothing changed in the waning minutes.

With three minutes on the clock, Barlow junior Rilyn Quirke slid underneath a driving Crusader to draw a charge, causing her opponent to pound the floor in frustration. One minute later, down two buckets, Barlow senior Melanie Hiu's pressure on the inbounds led to a Jesuit turnover.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Barlow junior Kennedie Shuler came up with crucial drives that kept the Bruins competitive against Jesuit.

All the while junior guard Kennedie Shuler kept pouring on the points for the Bruins — darting down the court on fastbreaks and driving into the lane in the halfcourt. Her biggest shot of the night came with 6.7 seconds left, as she hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 61-59. But towering Jesuit sophomore Kendra Hicks, a 6-foot-1 forward who caused headaches all night for Barlow, hit both free throws to seal the game.

Barlow (3-2) fell short, losing 63-59. Jesuit (6-0) remains undefeated through the early season.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Bruin junior Annie Koenig drives to the basket Tuesday evening, Dec. 14, in a game against Jesuit. "We played hard and both teams went on runs," Shuler said. "It sucks to lose, but it's just another reason to get back to practice and be ready for the next one."

"We will see (Jesuit) again," she added.

Shuler scored 25 points and was the go-to offensively for the Bruins for most of the night. Senior guard Lindsay Barden scored 16 points and also found success driving to the basket; junior Annie Koenig had 7 points; junior Haidyn Sobella hit two back-to-back corner three-pointers in the first half that had the crowd erupt in excitement; and senior Hiu served as the spearhead for the Bruins' intimidating defense that left Jesuit's guards visibly exasperated as the turnovers piled up.

"We got some crucial steals that kept us in it," Shuler said.

Barlow will next play Bartlett High School (AK) at noon Tuesday, Dec. 28, in the opener of the Pacific Office Automation Holiday Classic in Portland.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Barlow senior Lindsay Barden takes a buzzer-beater shot in a 63-59 loss to Jesuit.

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