Christian Brothers’ comeback catches Bear River in the end |

Christian Brothers’ comeback catches Bear River in the end

SACRAMENTO –  Bear River’s ship set sail for Christian Brothers on Thursday night with hopes of avenging last year’s season-ending defeat.

The Bruins ran with full sails and wind at their back for its D-IV quarterfinal game, until Christian Brothers coach Ron Gully put his starters for the first time in the game, to start the second half. And even though Bear River led 52-40 after three quarters, the Falcons fought back in the fourth for a 56-55 victory.

Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore was told the Falcon starters were five minutes late to practice, so Gully sat them out the first half of the contest.

Bear River (20-8) had the ball 86 feet from its own basket and the shot clock at 27 seconds, with the game clock at 29 seconds, and the score tied 55 all.

Bear River inbounded the ball made three passes, including the last to Jenn Meylor who took the shot with 13 seconds to play and it came off the iron. The Falcons rebounded the ball and was sent quickly to the other end, where Niel Valmores was fouled by the Bruins with 2.6 seconds to play in the game.

She hit the front end of the one-and-one to take the Falcons (18-10) only lead of the game.

The rebound was pulled down by the BR, one dribble and the ball was sent 70 feet through the air by Lindsey Harter, but it landed short and so did the Bruins, 56-55.

The Bruins started the game shooting the ball very well as a team, hitting 7-of-15 including five threes to end the quarter with a 23-9 lead. Bickmore’s team was led by Riley Pearson hitting 3-of-5 for seven of her 13 points in the game and Kelsey Uno added six. The man-to-man defense caused the Falcons to turn the ball over seven times in the quarter, while Bear River gave the ball away only once.

The pace in the second quarter was much faster, due to an adjustment made by Gully. He had his team switch from a 2-3 zone to a man to man. The Bruins gave the ball away eight times against the pressure, but still shot 8-for-17 in the quarter and Bear River went to the locker room at intermission with a 42-28 score.

“We had some good looks in the first half,” Bickmore said. “We hit a lot of threes.

“In the second half we we had some looks. We just did not hit anything.”

The Falcon first team came out and held the Bruins to four baskets in the third quarter and then shut the Bruins out completely from the field in the fourth.

Bear River did not take care of the ball in the second half, turning the ball over 14 times in 16 minutes of play.

“They scored on our turnovers,” Bickmore said. “If we did not make bad passes, we could have held them under 40 points.”

The Bruins won 20 games this season and they have most of the girls back next year.

“We will miss Riley, Whitney (Smith) and Emily (Guerra),” Bickmore said. “It is sad to see them go.”

If Christian Brothers makes it to Arco Arena for the section final it must go through top-seed Modesto Christian (26-4), which has scored more than 80 points in 11 contests this season, including games against Riverbank with a score of 101-7 and Escolon 105-21.

Robb Spencer’s team has been led by its senior point guard Brandi Henton (5 feet, 8 inches), who delivers 20 points per night and has scored double figures all but three games over the last two seasons. If the Falcons can find a way to slow down Henton, then they must contend with 6-1 junior wing Danielle Thompson (17 ppg,) and 5-11 Taryn Garza’s 14 points and eight rebounds per outing.

Contact Sports Writer Scott P. Hopper via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4231.

Christian Brothers 56, Bear River 55

BR (20-8) 23 19 10 3 – 55

CB (18-10) 9 19 12 16 – 56

Bear River (55)

Kelsey Uno 2 1-3 6, Whitney Smith 3 0-2 8, Jenn Meylor 3 4-6 11, Lindsey Harter  4 1-2 10, Riley Pearson 5 0-0 13, Sarah Hagar 0 0-0 0, Emily Guerra 3 0-0 8. Totals 20 7-13 55.

Christian Brothers (56)

Lynette Sandoval 0 2-2 2, Ishiana Burch 2 0-0 4, Grace Kellison 0 0-0 0, Kayla Gardner 1 0-0 2, Meg Taylor 3 1-2 8, Jazmin Bembry 2 6-6 10

Niel Valmores 2 1-2 6, Spencer Rodriguez 1 0-0 3, Natalie Hastings 0 0-0 0, Katie Hoekman 3 0-0 6, Adelia Fonseca 0 0-0 0, Lauren Cox 2 0-0 4, Jenny Lysaght 2 0-0 5. Totals 18 10-12  56.

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