On paper, it’s an upset.
In truth, the Bear River Bruins lost momentum as they played into the fourth quarter stretch against visiting Christian Brothers and fell 59-50 after controlling most of the game.
It’s a first-round exit for the No. 5 seed Bruins in the Division IV Sac-Joaquin section playoffs after advancing to the semifinals of the section tournament last year.
In the second round, Christian Brothers, the No. 12 seed, will play No. 4 seed San Juan, which defeated Bret Harte 69-37.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” Bear River co-head coach Duwaine Ganskie said. “I told ’em in the locker room afterward: In the beginning, if somebody told me we’d have a home playoff game I would’ve taken it in a minute.
“I hate to use the word overachieve. But they played as well they could have and they played to the best of their abilities.”
The Bruins (18-9) certainly played with the upper hand in the contest, using a six-man rotation throughout the game. They sprung to a 15-8 lead after the first quarter while holding the Christian Brothers’ dynamic backcourt of Jayson Henderson and Sterling Arterberry to scattered points.
However, it didn’t last long.
The Falcons (16-11) exploded for 18 second-quarter points fueled by Nick Maionchi’s eight in the quarter. Henderson and Arterberry were the only other Falcons to help carry the team. Arterberry finished with a game-high 25 points and Henderson had 14.
But it was the Falcons’ defense that managed to come up big, holding Bear River to six fourth-quarter points.
The holes in the Christian Brothers’ defense evaporated, after the Bruins’ Patrick Scott and Jordan Beskeen exploited backdoor cuts throughout the first three quarters.
Scott finished with 24 points while Beskeen added 15 – all in the second half. Bear River had played to a four-point advantage leading into the fourth quarter, but then balls just fell in the Falcons favor and two quick turnovers put the Bruins in a four-point hole playing catch up.
“You know what, we had some good breaks,” Christian Brothers coach Roger Stanfill said. “I wasn’t pleased with our defense but you know at times it worked real well. I’ll take a win any day.”
With 3:21 left in the fourth quarter, Bear River still had an opportunity to play back into the game but the team couldn’t get any shots off.
“Some of it was our offense just wasn’t going, our shots weren’t going in,” Beskeen said after the game. “The other toll could be our six players against, what looked like, them playing 10 players. But our offense wasn’t doing our thing.
It was tough for Ganskie to pinpoint what went wrong in the final quarter.
“We needed to get some stops,” he said. “We had a hard time containing (Arterberry). We were struggling to do that. Even if we did, we weren’t answering on the other end.
The Falcons’ Matt McCarthy came off the bench to hit two shots – his only four points of the game – to swing the momentum in their favor as they game slipped to its end result on fouls and free throws.
” We got beat by a team that played well,” Ganskie said. “It certainly wasn’t for a lack of hard work or playing ability.”
To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
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