Bruins drop 13th in a row
Through three quarters of play Friday night, Bear River’s Bruins did everything a basketball coach could ask.
They played the “D,” they hit the boards and they managed enough offense to put themselves into position to win, trailing visiting Mira Loma 41-38.
Then came the fourth quarter – and four straight Bruin turnovers to open the period – in which the Matadors went on a 10-0 run to take command in a 60-46 Pioneer Valley League win.
The loss was the 13th straight for Bear River (1-13 overall, 0-2 PVL). The Bruins have not found the win column since their 68-62, season-opening victory at Marysville on Nov. 25.
“It’s a young team,” said Bear River head coach Jack McCrory, noting that nine of the 11 players on the varsity roster are juniors. “They’re green and they’re making young mistakes.
“They’re working hard and they’re hanging together. I told them that the one thing I know I can count on with them is that they’re playing hard. But it seems like every time we get into those situations, we turn the ball over. And that’s real frustrating.”
The turnovers were especially troubling due to the fact the Bruins had just battled their way back into the game. Mira Loma (5-8, 2-0) ran out to a 36-26 lead midway through the third period. But Bear River’s Jacob Lazor landed a 3-pointer that sparked 10-2 run for the Bruins.
Trailing 38-29, Bear River’s Anthony Logan made the front end of two free throws, before the second attempt rimmed out and into the hands of a hustling Matt Mocek. Mocek kicked the rebound out to Matt Elders on the wing for a 3-pointer and a 38-33 score. Elders added another trey on the next trip down the floor to trim the lead to two, 38-36, with 1:42 to go in the period.
Mira Loma’s Mai Tsaro Johnson scored on a three-point play and Logan answered with a reverse layup to make things 41-38 after three.
Mocek, a 6-foot junior, led the Bruins with 12 points and eight rebounds, while his classmate Lazor added 11 points and nine boards.
The Bruins’ zone defense gave the Matadors fits through three quarters, as Mira Loma managed to hit 15 of 45 field goal attempts. But in the fourth quarter, the Matadors made four of nine from the floor and sank 11 of 12 free throws.
Gregory Palmer led Mira Loma in both scoring and rebounding, totaling 15 points and eight boards. Johnson added 14 points, while Kevin Yoo and T.J. Degrace scored nine and eight points, respectively.
Bear River returns to action Wednesday, when they host West Campus (10-6, 0-1) in PVL play. Mira Loma hosts Mesa Verde (6-9) that same night.
Though the Bruins have already matched last season’s loss total in league play (two), McCrory said he’s not about to close the book on Bear River’s chances. A year ago, the Bruins began league play with a 6-6 overall record and went 3-2 in the first half of their PVL slate.
That team regrouped in time to run the table from there, racking up seven straight wins and earning a share of the PVL championship with rival Colfax.
Does McCrory believe this Bruin bunch can pull it together in time for another strong second-half stretch of the PVL season?
“I have to, because we’re not doing it right now,” said McCrory. “I told the guys we’re just this far away right now. We’ve got to come into practice and just work our butts off to get ready for West Campus.”
Bear River’s junior varsity defeated Mira Loma 54-35 Friday.
The Bruins (8-7, 2-0) were led by Jake Kirby’s 16 points, while Devin Grebe and Kevin Barker each added 10 in the win.
The Bruin freshmen fell to the Matadors 47-34, despite an 11-point performance by Chris McIntosh.
Mira Loma 60, Bear River 46
ML (5-8) 14 14 13 19 – 60
BR (1-13) 11 12 15 8 – 46
Mira Loma: Farrow 3-5 1-2 7; Degrace 3-14 0-0 8; Johnson 3-12 7-7 14; Palmer 5-11 5-5 15; Dominitz 1-1 1-2 3; Yoo 3-9 2-2 9; Post 1-2 2-4 4; Krisko 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-54 20-22 60.
Bear River: Foster 0-1 0-0 0; Murnan 0-4 0-0 0; Wood 3-6 0-0 7; Mocek 4-7 4-7 12; Lazor 4-15 0-0 11; Fredrickson 3-8 0-0 7; Elders 2-4 0-0 6; Thomas 0-1 0-0 0; Logan 1-3 1-2 3. Totals: 17-49 5-9 46.
Rebounds – Mira Loma: 31 (Palmer 8); Bear River: 33 (Lazor 9, Mocek 8).
3-point shooting- Mira Loma: 4-23 (Degrace 2-10, Johnson 1-6, Yoo 1-5, Farrow 0-1, Post 0-1); Bear River: 7-15 (Lazor 3-8, Elders 2-2, Fredrickson 1-2, Wood 1-2, Murnan 0-1).
Turnovers – Mira Loma 13, Bear River 19
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