Sometimes one team simply has another team’s number.
That was the case Wednesday in Lodi as the No. 4 seed Bradshaw Christian girls basketball team knocked top-seeded Bear River out of the Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV playoffs for the second straight year. The Pride (19-6) beat Bear River (23-4) in the section finals last season.
The Lady Bruins had no answers for the defending D-IV section champs as the Pride held Bear River to its lowest offensive output of the season, beating them 45-28.
“Our big problem was we struggled offensively,” Bear River head coach Jeff Bickmore said. “We couldn’t hit easy shots. Some shots rimmed out and it wore us down throughout the game.”
Both teams struggled offensively from the start, battling it out to a 26-22 advantage for Bradshaw Christian heading into the fourth. That’s when the Pride’s offense woke up, but the Lady Bruin offense remained in hibernation.
The Pride opened the fourth on an 11-0 run punctuated by back-to-back 3-pointers from freshman Jolene Delaney. The 5-foot, 11-inch shooter hit four 3-pointers in the game and finished with 14 points.
Trailing 37-22 with just more than 2 minutes left, the Lady Bruins were forced to foul, but Bradshaw Christian hit their free throws down the stretch, sinking 6-of-9 in the final minutes.
“We had opportunities, but we didn’t capitalize,” Bickmore said. “It’s tough to beat a good team when you only put up 28. Defensively we did a great job, but our offense struggled tonight.”
The game was much tighter than the score would indicate as neither team could grab an advantage larger than five points until the fourth quarter.
Bear River was led by their senior forward Kaitlyn Reina with 15 points and 14 rebounds. But that was it as far as a consistent scoring threat. Teryn Rath added four points while battling it out in the paint. Lauren Runte scored four points and had seven assists, many of which were to Reina inside, and Maddi Dunn netted five points to round things out.
Leading Bradshaw Christian was junior Erika Bean with 16 points, many of which came on drives to the hoop.
“They are a good team,” Bickmore said of Bradshaw Christian.
“That guard, Erika Bean, was the difference. She’s a great ball handler, she creates a lot of offense and made it real difficult on us.”
The loss ends a section championship bid that saw Bear River win 23 games, claim the Pioneer Valley League title and grab the No. 1 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV playoffs.
The Lady Bruins’ season is not over, though, as they earned a bid into the CIF NorCal tournament because they made it to the final four in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV bracket.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.