Any wind in the Lady Vikings’ sails was quickly stolen by the Lady Bruins basketball squad as it jumped out front early and never loosened its grip in route to a 56-34 victory Monday night at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
Kaitlyn Reina stole the show when the curtain went up on Bear River’s home opener. The senior dropped in a 3-pointer for the first score from the top of the key and went on to force four steals in the first quarter, helping fuel the Lady Bruins on an 11-2 run. She finished with a double-double, which included a game-high 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals.
“We were really excited for it,” said Reina, referring to her team’s first home game. “We love playing at home with the crowd. We wanted to show this was our home, and you can’t mess with us here.”
Bear River senior Lauren Runte had the hot hand from downtown, draining 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and adding a free throw to finish with 13 points to go with five assists and four steals. Defensively, the Lady Bruins suffocated Oakmont with a full-court press, forcing turnovers and adding to their lead.
The Lady Vikings tried to climb back in it with a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter. They were led by senior Olivia Francis, who finished with 16 points, but Bear River always seemed to have an answer and then some, as it extended its lead to 34-20 at the half.
“I just shot it when I was open,” Runte said. “We we’re swinging the ball around the perimeter and spotting up.”
Securing real estate in the paint were Reina and Teryn Rath, who each battled for offensive boards as their teammates found multiple open looks set up by some great swing passes. Senior Jenn Alberts tossed in a pair of 3s and contributed nine points for the game. Both Reina and Rath added put-backs to keep the offense rolling. Rath ended with six points and five boards.
“Teryn and Kate were beasts down there,” added Runte.
The scoring spree settled down a bit in the third quarter as both squads struggled with getting shots to fall. Yet the Lady Bruins still managed to outscore Oakmont 8-6 and found their stride once again in the fourth quarter, catching fire for an 8-2 run to open a 50-28 lead and allow everyone on the bench to get some minutes.
“I was real happy with the energy level,” said head coach Jeff Bickmore. “We moved the ball well and got good shots. It was one of the more fun games to watch this season. We played good defense and did what we had to do.”
Bear River (12-2) travels to play Wood High School (Vacaville) Jan. 14 for its final preseason game. The Lady Bruins open Pioneer Valley League play at home against Placer Jan. 17.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.