Bruins can’t catch El Dorado
When the whistle blew, Johnny Jewett bent over at the waist and reached both hands to the floor before bending into a squat.
“I’m done,” Jewett said. “That’s pretty much all I was thinking. I’m done.”
His fifth foul not only signaled an end to his action against El Dorado Thursday night, but also to a high school career that Bear River’s “Bruin Nation” will remember for quite some time.
But before calling it a career, Jewett and his fellow seniors gave the visiting Cougars all they wanted before bowing out with a 60-55 loss at McCrory Gymnasium.
“I love every one of those guys,” Jewett said, looking back over his shoulder in the Bruin locker room. “They’re like my brothers. I got close to all of them. We hang out every single day. They’re not just guys I play ball with.”
Despite their season ending with an 11-14 record, including seven straight defeats to close out the campaign, those Bruins did play some ball on Senior Night.
Storming out to a 15-4, first-quarter lead, Bear River’s senior class came to the forefront early. Jordan Beskeen hit a pair of jumpers in the paint, Tommy Goodman scored twice inside and Will Gray drained a baseline jumper to help spark a 12-0 run over the first four minutes of the game.
Jewett, who finished with a game-high 22 points, got into the act with a rebound bucket and a 3-pointer from the top of the arc that pushed Bear River’s lead to 20-8 at the end of one quarter.
Bear River forced El Dorado into 11 of its 16 turnovers in the first half, which helped the Bruins to some easy buckets early. But as things tightened up in the second quarter, it was Jewett who shouldered much of the scoring load. Following up with his final five points of the first, he scored the next seven straight for Bear River in the second quarter. A drive to the basket, a 3-pointer from the left side and an up-and-under move in the paint gave the Bruins their largest lead of the night at 27-13 with 4:04 to go in the half.
“They played great in the first half,” said El Dorado coach Allen McCoy, whose Cougars improved to 17-9. “They executed everything. Their shots were falling and they played tough defense. We put some pressure on them in the second half and that helped us get to them.
“I think we played our worst half of the year in the first half and our best half in the second half. If we can keep playing like that, we can play with anybody.”
The Cougars quickly capitalized on four third-quarter turnovers they forced, pulling within 33-27 on a 3-pointer by Daniel Smith with 5:43 to go in the third. But back came Jewett, dishing off an assist to Goodman and then another to Beskeen inside, as Bear River pushed the lead back to double digits at 37-27.
Beskeen, who finished with points, added two more rebound buckets as the Bruins maintained a 43-34 margin heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Cougars were on the attack again to open the final period, pouring in nine points in the first 90 seconds of the quarter, while Bear River’s lone bucket came on a Jewett drive at the 7:02 mark. Matt Winterer scored on a fastbreak off a turnover with 5:20 to go, giving El Dorado its first lead of the game at 47-46.
As Bear River misfired from the floor for the next three minutes, El Dorado expanded the lead to 54-46 with 2:20 remaining. Once again, though, Jewett responded with a 3-pointer and then stole the ball on a trap and coverted a layup to cut things to 54-51. But as El Dorado sank six of eight free throws down the stretch, the Bruins could come no closer.
“That’s an amazing effort out of a guy who’s struggled to get his form back this year. He found it tonight,” Bear River coach Duwaine Ganskie said of Jewett, who also starred for the Bruin football team. “. The legacy you want to leave is that you gave it your all. We came up short on the scoreboard, but not in anybody’s mind of what a competitor that kid is.
“We came out with a purpose and passion to finish well. That’s what we’ve been talking about, finishing well.”
Along with Beskeen and Jewett, sophomore Sean Smith scored 10 points and Goodman totaled nine for the Bruins.
Justin Gavard led El Dorado with 16 points and Winterer had 14, while Daniel Smith and Garrett Keith each finished with 12 points.
El Dorado, which finished 7-5 for fourth place in the PVL, will likely open the Division III playoffs on the road after earning a No. 12 rating this week.
Bear River closed out the campaign with a 2-10 mark in the PVL.
Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4240.
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