BR comes up short
SACRAMENTO – The ghosts of Arco Arena raised their ugly heads again in the Bear River girls basketball team’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III final matchup with No.2 St Francis of Sacramento Friday.
The top-seeded Lady Bruins (23-8 overall), who went into tipoff with a 0-2 record in section championships at Arco, including last season’s three-point heartbreaker to Center of Antelope, turned the ball over 23 times and missed more than half of their free throws in a 46-38 loss.
“We didn’t play as ourselves. (We had too many) turnovers. We had trouble bringing the ball up the court. We didn’t finish the shots we normally do. St. Francis (25-6) took us out of our game,” said Lady Bruin junior Meaghan Noud, who tied the Lady Troubadours’ Melissa King with a game-high 11 points.
Amy Pistone, who totaled eight points and snagged eight rebounds, didn’t have any answers.
“We practiced against the press all week, and when it came down to it, we didn’t execute. We’ve been talking about poise all year, about being ourselves in tough situations. BUt when it came down to it, we didn’t do that,” Pistone said.
There will no ninth section title banner on the wall of Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium, but the Lady Bruins season will go on. As one of the section’s top two teams, Bear River has qualified for a berth in the NorCal State championships next week.
“I guess if I have to find a bright spot, it’s if we’re going to lose one game in the playoffs, I guess this is the one because we’re still playing,” Noud added.
Bear River led by a point at the half, but were outscored 10-5 in the third.
Noud, who’d averaged 26 points in her last two games, went coast to coast for a lay up, then converted a three-point play off a putback, brought Bear River to within a point with 5:31 left.
St. Francis made one of two free throws to increase the lead to two points on their next possession, but Bear River’s Maya Bryant answered.
The junior guard tied the score at 38-38 at the 4:07 mark with a putback.
That was the last Lady Bruin highlight of the game.
The Sierra Foothill League champs committed five straight turnovers and were outscored 8-2 down the stretch.
“I can’t honestly say this was our best effort. As for importance of the moment, we didn’t value the basketball. We missed a lot of chippers under the basket and open shots (on the perimeter). It seemed like they just weren’t up for it today,” Lady Bruin head coach Duwaine Ganskie said. “There are always bright spots, but I told the kids this was a team loss. Overall everyone distributed the 23 turnovers pretty evenly. Everybody seemed to have the same number of missed opportunities either on the free throw line or with the open shot.”
Briana Thomas, who was given Bear River’s sportmanship award, finished with eight points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
Bryant and Cassie Smith totaled four points each. Smith also had three steals, two assists and two rebounds. Christina Guerland had three points and three assists.
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