Bruins, Falcons prepare for foes
It’s that time of year where no opponent can be overlooked, and any opponent is beatable.
Both of those scenarios will hold true tonight when the Bear River and Forest Lake Christian girls basketball teams step into the NorCal playoffs. Bear River (23-7) plays host to Orland (20-8) in a 7 p.m. first-round Division IV contest, while Forest Lake Christian (23-7) travels to the Bay Area to face defending Division V state champion Pinewood at 7 p.m. in Los Altos Hills.
Bear River, coming off a 57-40 triumph against Colfax in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game Saturday afternoon at ARCO Arena, now enters the NorCal Tournament as a No. 3 seed. The Orland Trojans, who lost 58-36 to Anderson in the Northern Section finals Friday at Butte College, are the No. 6 seed.
“I think we got a pretty good draw overall,” Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore said. “I didn’t think we really had a shot at a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Sacred Heart and Piedmont are both really good programs and they have better records than us. I was just hoping for a No. 3 seed versus a No. 4 seed.
“I think we have a really good chance (against Orland), but they wouldn’t have gotten to a section championship if they weren’t a good team.”
Orland is led by the senior trio of Donna Long (15.3 points per game), Rosio Huizar (12.8) and Anna Salinthone (12.1). The 5-foot-9 Long leads the team in scoring, 3-point shooting, rebounds, steals and blocks. The Trojans were hurt underneath the glass, as Anderson enjoyed a 48-24 rebounding advantage in their section title game.
“They’re not real big, but they have three guards that are pretty quick and tough,” Bickmore said. “We do match up pretty well against them, but I don’t think they have anyone to guard Lauren (Juric).”
Juric had 24 points to go with seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists in Bear River’s section final win against Colfax. The 6-2 junior post player, who earned Pioneer Valley League MVP honors during the regular season, is averaging 15.4 points overall.
Sophomore point guard Chandré Uno also contributed 14 points, five assists, five steals and seven rebounds.
“The girls are still pretty excited about the Colfax win – they’re on Cloud Nine,” Bickmore said. “But I keep telling them that its not over yet.”
Colfax (26-5) drew the unenviable task of opening tonight against No. 1-seeded Sacred Heart Cathedral (28-2) in San Francisco. No. 2 and defending state Division IV champion Piedmont (27-4) hosts Mercy (27-4) and No. 4 Anderson hosts St. Mary’s of Berkeley (20-12) in the other first-round games.
Forest Lake Christian
Forest Lake Christian finds itself in an underdog role against a familiar foe, Pinewood in a rematch of last year’s NorCal Division V championship game. Pinewood won that NorCal final 60-40 at Delta College in Stockton, then came back a week later to defeat Pacific Hills 61-39 in the state final at ARCO.
“It will be a very difficult game,” Forest Lake Christian coach Steve Kellar said. “They have some very talented players, so we will pretty much have to play our best game to take them down.”
Forest Lake Christian did beat Pinewood in the NorCal semifinals in 2004, so anything is possible.
“They didn’t play all that well in their last game – they usually don’t have bad games back-to-back – but, you know what, we feel pretty good coming into this game.”
Forest Lake Christian is coming off a 56-49 loss against Modesto Christian in the section title game Friday at ARCO. Pinewood slipped past Sacred Heart Prep 37-34 in the Central Coast Section finals Saturday at Santa Clara University.
Pinewood is led by highly-touted 6-2 sophomore post Aly Geppert (13.1 points per game), along with Harvard-bound 5-10 senior forward Liz Altmaier (11.7) and junior guard Sami Field-polisso (11.5).
“They are a little bigger than we are and they have solid perimeter players, they’re shooting something like 38-percent from beyond the arc. They are solid,” Kellar said.
Senior guard Taylor Kilgore and sophomore post player Kylie Miraldi scored 14 points each to lead the Falcons offensively against Modesto Christian.
Notes: Also close to home tonight, the Colfax boys (29-1) host Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa at 7 p.m. in opening round play of the Division IV boys tournament. Colfax is the No. 3 seed after edging Argonaut 61-59 Saturday in the section finals at ARCO. … After Nevada Union saw its season end with a 70-55 loss against Tokay late Thursday night, Tokay came back Saturday to defeat Modesto, 84-64. Tokay is at home for its NorCal opener tonight against Deer Valley (Antioch). De La Salle (28-1) is the No. 1 NorCal seed in Division I. Down south, the top two seeds in Division I are heavyweights Westchester (24-6) and Clovis West (29-2). … On Nevada Union’s eight losses, four of those opponents are still playing in California: Westchester, Tokay, Campolindo and Washington Union.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.