Bruins finally go back-to-back
Before their game Tuesday night, the Bear River boys basketball players gathered at lunch to watch film of their previous game against Lincoln ” a five-point loss. They decided that under no circumstances did they want to re-live an ugly game like that again.
And with sole possession of second place in the Pioneer Valley League on the line, it was also time to stop the pattern of alternating wins and losses and being unable to string together two wins in a row.
Considering their goals, the Bruins were successful on all counts, beating Lincoln 71-60 Tuesday night in Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
It was Bear River’s first set of back-to-back wins since the first week in December when the Bruins beat Inderkum and San Juan in the Paul Gonzalez Tournament. The win also moved the Bruins into second place behind Colfax.
The game began slowly, however, for the Bruins as they turned the ball over five times in the first four minutes of the game, but found themselves down only 7-3.
With three minutes and 11 seconds remaining in the first quarter junior Axel Wadman gave his team an emotional lift by banking in a wild 3-pointer and being fouled in the process. He hit his free throw to tie the game at seven. After a Lincoln turnover, Aaron Baker put the Bruins up 9-7 with a basket in the paint and Bear River never trailed again.
Lincoln coach Mike O’Connell put his team on the floor in a zone to begin the game, but went back to man-to-man after the Bruins went on a 7-0 to start the second quarter going up 21-11.
“We just didn’t have much defensive intensity,” O’Connell said. “They moved the ball and beat us on cuts. We weren’t rotating and they were getting open looks so we decided we were going to have to live and die by man-to-man.”
But unfortunately for Lincoln, Bear River was able to score against the new defensive scheme as well. Chris McIntosh, C.J. Crausby and Wadman were virtually unstoppable in the second quarter, scoring 19 of the team’s 20 points.
McIntosh scored all of his game-high 15 points in the first half, with Wadman scoring 11 of his 13 during that same time.
The Zebras applied a full court press in the second half in an attempt to increase the tempo of the game and create turnovers and easy shots. But the Bruin ballhandlers played steady throughout the half showing marked improvement against the press from earlier in the season.
“We’ve been beating each other up in practice,” Bear River coach Jack McCrory said. “They’ve been physical practices and they guys are working their butts off ” and not just 10 or 11 of them, but all 14.”
McIntosh echoed McCrory’s thoughts about the intensity level of practice and drills saying his team was ready for the press.
Crausby finished with 12 points and eight rebounds and senior Devin Grebe scored all nine of his points in the final quarter.
Lincoln’s Ryan Laino scored 13 points, with Matt Palantinus and Anthony Kellar adding 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Bruins (10-10, 5-3) travel to Mira Loma at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Bear River junior varsity team struggled with consistency against Lincoln losing by a slim margin of 59-54.
“We gave up a lot of easy baskets,” Bear River coach Steve Box said. “There were stretches when we played well, but there were also a lot of mental lapses that we couldn’t overcome.”
Garrett Smith scored 21 points, with Scott Patrick adding nine points.
Lincoln guard Kenny Tyree went off for 27 points, with 15 of them coming in the third quarter.
After playing to a tie after three quarters, the Bear River freshman team slowly pulled away in the final quarter to post a 58-47 win against Lincoln.
“We played a lot smarter than we have been playing,” Bear River coach Dick Werntz said. “We lost to Lincoln last time so we showed a big improvement.”
Tanner Mathias led the team with 14 points and Glenn Schell drew praise for his steady defense and 11 points. Running the team’s offense was Casey O’Donnell who scored 10 points.
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