El Dorado extends PVL win streak with 51-45 victory over Lady Bruins
For much of the first three quarters of action Wednesday night, El Dorado’s 22-game Pioneer Valley League win streak looked to be in jeopardy at Bear River’s McCrory Gymnasium.
But by the midway point of the fourth quarter, the Cougars once again showed why they’ve been the team to beat in the PVL for the past three seasons, as El Dorado eventually pulled out a 51-45 win over the host Bruins.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Bear River,” said El Dorado coach Pat Winter. “They shoot the ball well and play hard, even though they were undersized. They really gave us our best game in league so far.”
It also might have been the best challenge the 17-1 Cougars have faced since suffering their only loss of the season, a 49-41 defeat to South Salem in Oregon on Dec. 12.
Bear River jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the opening quarter, while forcing five turnovers and holding the Cougars to just 1-of-12 shooting from the floor to open the game.
And yet by the end of the period, El Dorado had cut the margin to 13-10.
“I’m proud of the effort,” Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore said. “They’re very tall and very athletic. It’s hard to get anything inside the paint against them. We were kind of living on the perimeter and I thought they did a nice job of forcing us into tough shots.”
The Bruins (15-4 overall, 4-2 PVL) held firm throughout, however. El Dorado expanded its lead to six points in both third and fourth quarters, but Bear River was game on each occasion.
After an 8-0 run made things 32-26 with 2:01 to go in the third, Bear River came back with back-to-back 3-pointers by Lindsey Harter and Kelsey Uno to cut the margin to 34-32 at the end of the third.
The Cougars pushed back out to a 40-34 lead with 3:57 to go in the game, when Uno answered with another 3-pointer to cut the lead in the half. But Bear River came no closer down the stretch.
The Lady Bruins, who helped force El Dorado into 19 turnovers on the night, turned the ball over nine times in the fourth quarter after totaling only eight turnovers through three periods.
Uno led all scorers with 16 points on the night, including four 3-pointers to go along with five rebounds.
“We would work it around awhile and they were just getting out of place a little bit so we were able to get some open looks,” Uno said of her 4-of-9 3-point shooting on the night.
Harter, who Bickmore said has been Bear River’s top 3-point shooter throughout the season, struggled against the Cougars 2-3 zone. She finished 2-of-8 from beyond the arc for six points.
“She also had to guard their toughest player and did a good job on her,” Bickmore said. “I told her even if she was going to miss 10 in a row that she’s got to take that shot. She’s shooting over 40 percent for the year behind the 3-point line.”
Sarah Mackey led El Dorado with 15 points, while Mikaela Macklin had 14 points. Ali Best added eight points for the Cougars.
Bear River’s Riley Pearson had another strong night in the paint, scoring 12 points and pulling down a team-high nine rebounds. Jenn Meylor had eight points and four boards, while freshman Sarah Hagar hit a 3-pointer for Bear River.
The Lady Bruins are back in action Friday, hosting rival Colfax at 7 p.m. The Falcons (11-9, 4-1) won the first meeting 49-30 on their home floor.
“We’ll spend some time to get prepared for them,” Bickmore said. “And hopefully we’ll have a better game than the last time we played them.”
Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4240.
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.