PREP BASKETBALL: Bear River teams grab opening round wins at Ganskie Invitational | TheUnion.com

PREP BASKETBALL: Bear River teams grab opening round wins at Ganskie Invitational

The boys and girls hoops teams from Bear River took two different paths, but found the same results in the opening round of the 2nd annual Ganskie Invitational Basketball Tournament Thursday.

Playing in the friendly confines of Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium, the Lady Bruins got all they could handle from a feisty Forest Lake Christian squad, but pulled out a 54-48 victory. Bear River's boys team didn't have nearly as much trouble with their FLC counterparts, topping the Falcons by a large margin, 59-36.

"I was really happy with how they played," Bear River boys head coach Jeff Bickmore said. "For the first game back with everybody together, I thought they played, in a lot of ways, better than I thought they would."

With the addition of three players from the football team, the Bruins had a full roster for the first time this season, adding size, strength and depth off the bench.

After a slow start put Bear River behind 8-7 at the end of the first quarter, the Bruins came to life in the second. The Bruins opened the quarter with an 8-0 run and closed it on a 12-1 run to lead 27-16 at the half.

Leading 39-28 after three quarters, the Bruins pulled away in the fourth with a 13-0 run to open the quarter and never looked back.

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Bear River got it done with a balanced attack as eight Bruins scored and six hit 3-pointers. Leading the Bruins was sophomore point guard Brekyn Vasquez with 14 points. Senior guard Clay Corippo added 12 points, junior guard Calder Kunde chipped in 10 points, sophomore guard Justin Powell tallied eight points and junior forward Garrett Pratt accounted for seven points.

For the Falcons, sophomore point guard Simon Blackburn scored a game-high 18 points, and sophomore guard Luke Gilliland added 10 points.

"They basically had two shooters that we needed to neutralize and I think we did a good job of doing that," said Bickmore. "If you hold teams to 36 points, you're going to win a lot of games."

Forest Lake Christian head coach Brian Metz said the difference was his team lacked intensity.

"Every game is about winning the intensity battle and we didn't do that," he said. "I think we executed decently on offense, but defensively we played terrible and that's a lack of intensity."

The Bruins (3-4) will face off with Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in the second round. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. today. The Falcons (3-5) will take on Golden Sierra at 5 p.m. today.

The Lady Bruins had a much tougher time taking down the Lady Falcons.

"We knew they were going to come after us. It's like a rivalry game," Bear River head coach Randy Billingsley said. "They were not in fear of us at all. I was glad we had a tight one. I was glad to see us compose ourselves at the end and manage the game."

Trailing after three quarters, the Lady Bruins found their stride in the fourth quarter. Bear River opened the final stanza with a 13-1 run to grab a 47-38 advantage, but the Lady Falcons refused to go quietly, and pulled to within three at 51-48 with less than a minute left. But, that was as close as FLC would get as Bear River hit its free throws down the stretch.

"We actually calmed down and ran the offense," Billingsley said. "We didn't panic. One player didn't try to do it all. We basically just did what we know we need to do, take care of the basketball, don't turn it over and play hard defense, and frankly I'm proud of them. That's the best fourth quarter we've had all season."

Leading the Lady Bruins was senior guard Katelyn Meylor with 13 points and eight steals. Senior post player Mallory Rath added 12 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Senior point guard Kylee Dresbach-Hill added 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. A couple of sophomores also came up big for Bear River as Gabi Corralejo chipped in nine points and grabbed five steals, and Grace Billingsley added eight points.

For the Lady Falcons, senior post player Johnna Dreschler was strong in the paint with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Sophomore guard Amber Jackson added 12 points and senior point guard Bella Horner chipped in nine.

"I'm proud of them. They played hard and they executed everything exactly like we said," FLC head coach Valerie Horner said. "They pushed hard against Bear River and I'm very proud of them."

The Lady Bruins (5-3) take the court again at 6:30 p.m. today against Western Sierra. The Lady Falcons (2-6) are back at it at 3:30 p.m. today against Golden Sierra.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

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