5 questions with Jeff Bickmore, Bear River coach
Jeff Bickmore, co-head boys basketball coach at Bear River, re-joined Duwaine Ganskie on the same bench this season after leading the school’s varsity girls squad to back-to-back section titles. Bickmore, who played basketball professionally in Australia, served as Ganskie’s assistant for several years prior to being promoted to head coach of the Lady Bruins.
In their first season sharing the sidelines again, Bickmore and Ganskie have guided Bear River to an 18-8 record and second place in the Pioneer Valley League. Bickmore sat down for five questions with Sports Editor Brian Hamilton after Thursday night’s 64-48 loss to Whitney in the regular season finale.
So how’s this whole co-head coaching working out for you?
“Actually, the co-head coach thing has been unbelievable. We never really separated (responsibilities) like this is your job and this is my job. It’s actually worked out very well. We never knew we would have another opportunity to coach together again. It’s really a blessing to be able to work together like this.”
What do you take from tonight’s loss, which left you tied with Whitney for second place?
“It’s all about energy level. We talked before that this game was going to come down to effort and defense, us getting stops and rebounding and then going down to the other end and score. It’s really a simple philosophy. All we ask is that we want to see this game in and game out. And for the most part this season, they’ve done an excellent job.”
What do the Bruins need to do in the playoffs to find success?
“I hate to sound like a broken record, but we really need to work the next few days on shoring up our team defense and rebounding … All the little things we go over all the time are what really make a big difference.”
OK, so who’s the top dog heading into the Division IV section playoffs?
“Modesto Christian (22-4) is the team to beat. They’ve got one kid going to Cal and another to UCLA, so they’re loaded. We know they’re loaded. We’ll just try to get as far as we can.”
So what’s this about you once scoring 81 points in an Australian pro league game?
Eighty. How did you hear about that? I don’t really go around telling people that I got 80 one time. I remember I was averaging around 42 points a game and there was this other (American) guy in the league who was averaging around 40. He’d call me after every game and ask how many points I scored.
That night he call and asked “How many did you get?” and I told him “Eighty.” He just said “No, really how many did you get?”
It was a long time ago, so it’s kind of blur. But I remember they had this guy on me who was 6-9, but was pretty slow so I could beat him off the dribble. And then they tried to go small on me. It was just one of those games where everything goes your way.”
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