Bruins win first section championship since ’98
SACRAMENTO – The journey really began four months ago in a classroom at Nevada Union High School. After a fairly sub-par day of preseason scrimmages, Bear River girls basketball coach Jeff Bickmore gathered his team together for a state of the team address.
He told his players that not only did they have the talent to be the Pioneer Valley League Champions, they had the team to be the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Champions as well.
His words were met with looks of surprise and disbelief at the time, but in the end, Bickmore’s players took his words to heart and did exactly what he predicted they could do.
By beating rival Colfax 57-40 Saturday afternoon at ARCO Arena, the Bruin basketball team secured its place in history as the 2006 Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Champions.
It was the program’s ninth section title and its first since 1998.
Prior to the game, Bickmore said his team’s game plan was to focus on the defensive end of the court and do what was necessary to win on offense. The Bruins stuck closely to the plan from the opening minutes of the game, forcing Colfax into four-straight turnovers to begin the contest.
Bear River gave up a measly five points in the first quarter, forcing the Falcons into shooting just 1-for-10 from the field to take a 13-5 lead after one quarter.
“We made a commitment to play well defensively,” Bickmore said after the game.
That commitment continued to be the focus of the Bruins’ play in the second quarter as they maintained a double-digit lead throughout the quarter and went into halftime with a 27-18 lead.
Bear River sophomore point guard Chandré Uno took advantage of Falcon turnovers, taking two steals coast-to-coast in the first half. Uno scored 12 of her 14 points in the first half.
The second half began with Bear River standout Lauren Juric being whistled for her third personal within the first minute of play as she fouled Colfax’s Rebecca Pugh in the act of shooting. Pugh’s shot went in, but she missed the ensuing bonus free throw with her team trailing by just seven points at 27-20.
From that point on, however, the Bruins began to pound the ball inside time and time again, turning Juric loose in the low post. She scored 10 of her game-high 24 points during the third quarter, going to the line on four separate occasions. And to add just a bit more insult to injury she stepped back behind the 3-point line and drained one of those as well.
Meanwhile, on the defensive end of the court, Uno and senior guard Kristin Landre continued to disrupt any kind of offensive flow the Falcons attempted to create. Landre spent the majority of the game frustrating Colfax senior captain Michelle Cassilagio – one of the two Falcons that were part of the 2004 section championship team.
And as her teammates forced the Falcons into tough shots, junior forward Katie Thompson was more often than not seen coming up with rebounds to send her team back down court on offense. She ended up with a game-high 11 rebounds.
“It was pretty physical,” Thompson said. “I was getting grabbed a lot so I just grabbed right back.”
Bear River took a 42-25 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back. The closest the Falcons came was to within 16 points.
Juric added seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists to her 24 points, with Uno finishing with five assists, five rebounds and three steals along with her 14 points. Landre had seven rebounds and five points.
Of the game’s 32 minutes, Uno, Thompson and junior Erin Noud played 31 minutes with Landre in for 30 minutes and Juric playing 28.
The Bruins host a game in the first round of the Northern California Championships at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
To contact sportswriter Stacy Hicklin, e-mail her via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
Bear River 57, COLFAX 40
BR 13 14 15 15 – 57
C 5 13 7 15- 40
BEAR RIVER (57): Chandré Uno 5 3-5 14, Shannon Dayton 0 0-0 0, Erin Noud 2 1-2 7, Tanya Copeland 0 0-0 0, Katie Thompson 2 2-2 6, Rachel Welz 0 0-0 0, Kristin Landre 1 3-5 5, Lauren Juric 8 7-12 24, Kaitlyn Spence 3 0-0 6, Adrienne Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 17-28 57.
COLFAX (40): Rebecca Pugh 2 0-3 4, Amy Filipowski 0 3-4 2, Tyler Divine 3 5-7 11, Michelle Cassilagio 3 6-8 12, Courtney Harrison 1 1-2 3, Katie Cassilagio 1 0-0 3, Lauren Maurer 1 0-0 2, Daley Kutzman 0 0-0 0, Sarah Briasco 1 0-0 2, K.C. Ziebarth 0 0-0 0, Crystle Andrews 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 15-24 40.
Fouled out: C – Pugh. Total fouls: BR 18, C 21. Technical fouls: none.
Dec. 5 Chico L 43-46
Dec. 6 Center W 47-35
Dec. 13 @ Vanden L 34-60
Dec. 15 Highlands (T) L 36-53
Dec. 16 Woodcreek (T) W 59-53
Dec. 17 Folsom (T) W 46-43
Dec. 19 @ Dixon W 64-28
Dec. 21 El Camino (T) L 79-40
Dec. 22 St. Francis (T) L 55-62
Dec. 23 Granite Bay (T) W 68-43
Dec. 28 Dublin (T) W 54-43
Dec. 29 El Cerrito (T) L 43-48
Dec. 30 Enterprise (T) W 47-46
Jan. 3 Oakmont W 46-33
Jan. 5 @ Lincoln W 57-48
Jan. 10 Mira Loma W 57-34
Jan. 12 West Campus W 65-34
Jan. 17 @ Mesa Verde W 44-34
Jan. 25 Colfax L 51-52
Jan. 27 Oakmont W 60-33
Jan. 28 Bret Harte W 45-35
Feb. 1 Lincoln W 62-46
Feb. 3 @ Mira Loma W 67-33
Feb. 8 @ West Campus W 66-28
Feb. 10 Mesa Verde W 49-31
Feb. 17 @ Colfax W 66-50
Feb. 21 Hilmar• W 45-27
Feb. 23 Loretto• W 54-44
March 1 Amador• W 59-45
March 4 Colfax• W 57-40
• denotes Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs
(T) denotes tournament
1 Chandré Uno
4 Shannon Dayton
10 Annie Osterholt
11 Erin Noud
20 Tanya Copeland
22 Katie Thompson
23 Rachel Welz
24 Kristin Landre
31 Lauren Juric
32 Adrienne Brown
34 Kaitlyn Spence
43 Jocelyn Fry
* injured Rachel Harter
Coaches: Jeff Bickmore, Merlin Elders, Dave Piston and Meghan Burt
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