Bruins’ season ends
SACRAMENTO – With big games came woe for Bear River’s boys basketball team.
The No. 10-seed Bruins lost each of their two big games against rival Colfax earlier this year. But the latest loss, this time at the hands of No. 7-seed Encina on Wednesday, was a season-ending 57-44 defeat in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Bear River’s only lead was 2-0 in the early minutes. Through the rest of the game the Bulldogs used two runs of eight-unanswered points and one of seven to build a sturdy lead.
The loss was not easy to accept for the underdog.
“I thought we could have gone far in the playoffs,” Bear River junior Chris McIntosh said. McIntosh led the Bruins with 15 points, and was his team’s only double-digit scorer.
It was unanimous among the Bruins and their coaches that the loss was their own fault, despite playing a taller, stronger Encina team. The Bulldogs featured 6-foot-7 senior Lonnie Brazil as well as six others over six feet.
“(Brazil) wasn’t the reason we lost,” said 6-6 Aaron Baker, who spent most of his energy trying to guard the thicker center. Baker, a junior, limited Brazil to seven points – eight fewer than his average of 15.
With the Bulldogs’ big man subdued, guard Daren Malone was able to come within a point of his season-high by scoring 19. He was one of three Encina players in double figures.
Axel Wadman, a junior, and senior Devin Grebe each scored eight points for the Bear River.
After playing most of the first two quarters with composure, the Bruins’ tone changed.
Bear River looked frantic in the second half, taking 3-point shots from three feet behind the line early in the shot clock, forcing awkward runners in the lane and reaching for steals when there were few chances of success.
“We were playing scared,” Bruin senior Jake Kirby said. In his last game wearing a Bear River uniform, Kirby scored four points. “Encina wasn’t scared. It was our own fault. (Playing with fear) brings the whole team down. We weren’t playing as a team.”
Regardless of the fact that Bear River coach Jack McCrory said it didn’t spoil the season, in which the Bruins finished second in the Pioneer Valley League at 8-4 and 13-12 overall, the first-round fall will likely leave a bitter memory in the minds of his players. Especially Grebe, Kirby, C.J. Crausby, Jarrett Russell and Kevin Barker – the five seniors.
“We just played bad,” McCrory said. “Just like at Colfax, we had a big game and didn’t play well.”
The Bruins ended the regular season with a 57-39 loss at Colfax.
BULLDOGS 57, BRUINS 44
Bear River 6 9 10 9 – 44
Encina 16 14 17 10 – 57
BEAR RIVER (44)
Chris McIntosh 7 0-2 15, Axel Wadman 2 3-3 8, Kevin Barker 1 0-0 2, Jake Kirby 2 0-0 4, Aaron Baker 2 0-0 5, Devin Grebe 3 0-0 8, Dan Costa 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 3-5 44.
Daren Malone 7 3-4 19, Andres Olivarez 2 0-0 6, Lonnie Brazil 2 2-3 7, Andre Mayo 4 3-6 12, Phillip Johnson 5 2-3 11, Milen Karavan 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 8-16 57.
3 pointers: Bear River 5 (Grebe 2, Baker 1, Wadman 1, McIntosh 1), Encina 5 (Malone 2, Olivarez 2, Brazil 1).
Fouls: Bear River 15, Encina 9. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.
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