Basketball playoffs: Bruins playing in memory of ‘Grandma Uno’
Although they will take to the Christian Brothers High School basketball floor with all of “Bruin Nation” behind them tonight, Bear River’s Lady Bruins say they’re playing for more than their own pride this season.
They’re playing for “Grandma Uno.”
The black and white “GU” patch on their uniforms this season reminds the Lady Bruins that they have dedicated the 2009-10 campaign to the memory of one of their biggest fans, Kazi Uno, who died last summer at the age of 82.
With her own granddaughters wearing the cardinal and gray of Bear River basketball over the years, Kazi Uno rarely missed a game and somewhat adopted the entire Lady Bruins roster each season as her own family. Every Lady Bruin who played over the past six seasons not only received Grandma Uno’s support, but also a blanket she crocheted for them.
“She made them for our AAU teams, as well,” said junior Kelsey Uno, whose sister Chandre was a member of Bear River’s back-to-back section championship squads of 2006-07. “Going through this has been such a shock to me, and for my whole family, that it’s been really rough for me. I’m still going through some grieving.
“But it means a lot to me, knowing that the team is behind me and our coach (Jeff Bickmore) is dedicating not only the season but also an award in her honor. It’s made the whole process a lot easier, knowing how much she meant to everyone.”
Beginning this year, the most dedicated player for the Lady Bruins will receive the “Grandma Uno Award.”
As to the current campaign, Kelsey Uno said her grandmother would be pleased with the Lady Bruins’ performance so far this season.
“She’d be really proud,” she said. “She always liked it when we went far in the playoffs.”
No. 5 Bear River (20-7) at No. 4 Christian Brothers (18-10), 7 p.m. today – In a rematch of last year’s second-round game, won by the host Falcons 57-53, Bear River and Christian Brothers square off in the only D-IV quarterfinal clash pairing top five seeds.
Christian Brothers, which blasted 12th seed Hughson 71-28 in Tuesday’s playoff opener, was led by a balanced scoring attack. Natalie Hastings had 12 points, while Katie Hoekman, Niel Valmores and Lauren Cox each scored nine.
The Falcons, who finished third in the Sierra Valley Conference, enter the second round on an upswing as winners of seven out of their past eight contests.
Bear River, on the other hand, hopes to have righted its ship with its 57-36 first-round win over Ripon, following back-to-back losses to Whitney and El Dorado to close out the regular season.
Senior Riley Pearson leads the team win scoring at 9.7 points per game. Junior Lindsey Harter averages 8.3 ppg., while guards Kelsey Uno and Whitney Smith are scoring 7.9 per outing.
No. 16 Nevada Union (13-13) at No. 1 Oak Ridge (24-3), 7 p.m. today – After dropping three straight games to close out the season, Nevada Union’s Lady Miners slipped to the 16th and final spot in the Division I playoffs.
NU, though, will look to return to the way it played during a four-game win streak that preceded the late slide. But the Lady Miners know they will have their hands full with the top-seeded Trojans at Oak Ridge High School tonight.
The Sierra Valley Conference champion, Oak Ridge tips off Division I tournament play on a five-game win streak. The Trojans last lost on Jan. 30 to Hanford by an 84-55 score. And the only other blemishes on the season slate came to a 23-5 Sacramento High team (54-53) and a 24-1 Hamblen West (59-43) out of Tennessee in the Nike Tournament of Champions.
Oak Ridge is led by 5-foot, 10-inch Stanford recruit Sara James, who is averaging 34.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 6.0 steals per outing. Carly Bettencourt averages 15 ppg., while Kristen Ramona is scoring at an 8.0 clip.
Nevada Union has been powered by a balanced offensive attack all season, led by senior Jordan Milhous’ 9.1 points per game. Sophomore Lindsey DeMatteis averages 8.7 ppg., while Jennie Carroll is scoring at 7.3 per night and Angela Hacche owns a 6.5 scoring average.
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.