Clamp down – Bear River’s defense leads team to win
On paper, the matchup between Bear River and Mesa Verde looked to be a tough one, as both teams came into the game undefeated in Pioneer Valley League play.
The reality, however, turned out to be a vastly different story as Bear River bullied its way to a 49-26 thrashing of its league foe.
After going into the locker room at halftime leading 25-17, the Bruins came back out to the floor determined to play with a renewed intensity on the defensive end of the court. The plan worked as the Bruins allowed just three points in the entire third quarter and six points in the fourth quarter.
“At halftime we talked about not having an lapses on defense,” senior guard Karli Kephart said. “Our main focus was to keep up our concentration out there.”
Kephart certainly listened to the halftime message, as the senior captain led by example scrambling for loose balls and rebounds while stepping up to take tough shots and throwing sharp passes to put her teammates in position to score.
“She does a bit of everything out there,” Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore said. “She’s a steadying influence on the court and a solid player. Overall I think she may be the most skilled player on the team.”
Kephart finished the game with 11 points, seven assists, four steals and four rebounds.
In addition to a huge effort from the senior veteran, freshman guard Chandre Uno came up big in the second half to ensure that the Bruins kept their place perched on top of the PVL standings.
Uno matched Kephart in scoring 11 points, seven of which came in the third quarter. Coming out of the locker room at halftime, the freshman became more aggressive attacking the basket on offense and hounding the Mesa Verde guards on defense.
“Chandre played a great second half,” Bickmore said. “It was nice tonight to see that we have our veterans that are playing well, but that the future also looks nice with some talented players coming up.”
Senior forward Julie Fry also turned in a nice game for the Bruins (12-3 overall, 4-0 PVL), scoring eight points. Eight different Bear River players scored in the win.
“I wasn’t sure what the outcome of the game was going to be, but I knew that if our team played well we could come out with a win,” Bickmore said. “The biggest thing was we played good defense against a good team.”
Mesa Verde-Bear River Boxscore
Mesa Verde 8 9 3 6 – 26
Bear River 15 10 17 7 – 49
Mesa Verde (26)
Walsh 2 2-2 7, McVicar 3 0-0 6, Padda 1 0-0 2, Cannon 2 0-0 4, Westbrook 2 0-0 4, Morales 0 1-2 1, Mussro 0 2-4 2. Totals 10 5-8 26.
Bear River (49)
Kephart 5 0-0 11, Landre 2 0-0 4, Fredrickson 0 0-0 0, Marter 1 0-0 2, Fry 4 0-0 8, Noud 0 0-0 0, Eden 0 0-0 0, Weeks 2 0-0 4, Juric 3 0-0 6, Uno 5 0-0 11, Spence 1 0-0 3. Totals 23 0-0 49.
Three-point goals – Kephart, Uno, Spence, Walsh 1. Fouled out – none. Total Fouls – 18. Technical fouls – none.
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