In the junior varsity basketball scene, all three girls teams finished in the top two in their respective leagues, losing just four league games, with two of the boys team posted second-place finishes in league.
Bear River girls
The Bear River girls junior varsity team went undefeated in the Pioneer Valley League for the second-straight year finishing with a 14-0 record.
After a somewhat slow start, the Bruins finished the season on a 16-game win streak, winning 18 of their final 19 games.
“The team was ravaged by illness early in the season, resulting in numerous games being played with shorthanded – including many with only five to six players and one in which there were only four players on the floor at the end,” Bear River coach Dave Pistone said. “It was nice to get everyone healthy in time for league to start.”
Annie Osterholt led the team in rebounds with a total of 192, including a single-game high of 13, with freshman Jocelyn Fry leading the team in scoring with 10.2 points per game. Allison Dayton led the team with 59 assists and 86 steals.
Piston listed the win against Whitney and the season-ending win at Colfax the highlights of the season.
“Playing at Colfax, with Colfax looking to avenge an earlier loss, we knew that it would be tough,” Pistone said. “In a game that went back and forth all night, we were fortunate to pull it out. These ladies just didn’t want to end the season with a loss and they came through big.”
Forest Lake Christian girls
The Forest Lake Christian girls junior varsity team came through with a must-win 52-48 victory on the road in the final game of the season against Sacramento Waldorf to win the Central Valley Christian League title.
Earlier in the season, the Falcons took their only loss of the league season against the Waves. The Falcons finished 16-2 overall and 10-1 in league play.
Sophomore Kelsea Yates led the team in scoring with freshman Lindsey Engbrect leading the team in rebounding. Becca Farum handled the point guard duties with Stacey Schoellerman playing the defensive specialist role on the team.
“We put Stacey on the other team’s ball handler and that really allowed Becca to save her energy for offense,” Forest Lake Christian coach Steve Huusfeldt said.
Bethany Huusfeldt began the season on the junior varsity team, but right before the league season switched spots with Katie Hoge who moved down the junior varsity team.
“Last year, we won league, were undefeated and had a lot of weapons,” Huusfeldt said. “This season we won with fewer weapons with most of the kids having to play the entire 32 minutes of each game.”
A season highlight for the team was winning a tough Durham Tournament.
Nevada Union girls
The Nevada Union girls junior varsity team was a mix of old and new players. Sophomores Shanna Stefani, Cassie Davidson and Lauren Langley returned to provide solid leadership, with the team counting on the significant contributions from four freshmen.
Nevada Union finished with an overall record of 20-7, while going 11-3 in the Metro League for a second-place finish. The Miners beat the eventual league champions twice, but two losses to Kennedy hurt their championship chances.
“The overall strength of this team was that everyone contributed in some way, either at practice, in the games or simply supporting other players from the bench,” Nevada Union coach Wayne Brummund said.
“They are an awesome group of young ladies and I was very lucky to have the opportunity to be their coach. Their work ethic and dedication were outstanding.”
Nevada Union boys
The season began somewhat rough for the Nevada Union junior varsity team, which was 1-5 at one point with coach Dale Latimer still figuring out the final magical pieces to putting his team together. But by midseason, his team found its stride.
The season turned around with a two-point loss to a quality Del Oro team at the Davis Tournament, with the Miners winning their next game against Natomas by 20 points.
Nevada Union entered the league season 4-8, but went on to win 11 of its final 14 games to finish a solid second place in the Metro with an 11-3 league record and 15-11 overall record. In fact, the Miners began league play with seven-straight wins until losing to Granite Bay after playing games on back-to-back nights.
A Feb. 9 loss to McClatchy took the Miners out of the league championship hunt, which went to Granite Bay. Nevada Union gave Granite Bay its only league loss of the season.
“I don’t think anyone picked us to finish second,” Latimer said. “We lost a few games by only one or two points and could have easily had 18-19 wins.”
Looking back, Latimer said he thought he used more subs this season than ever before, with the team drawing quite a bit of strength from its bench.
Nick Cancilla, Tim Conde and John Wivholm (who moved down from the varsity at the beginning of league play) shouldered the scoring load, with Cancilla also leading the team in rebounding.
Matt Anderson, a transfer from Oregon, ran the offense at point guard, with Cole and Kemp Stanford and Sean Babbot earning praise for their improvement from Latimer.
“Austin Schmacher and Alex Bend were our team captains,” Latimer said. “They had the highest basketball IQs, knew what was going on and were incredibly supportive.”
Forest Lake Christian boys
The up-tempo style Forest Lake Christian junior varsity team finished its season with a 17-6 overall record, along with a 12-2 CVCL record; good enough for second place in the league.
Victory Christian won the league after beating the Falcons twice by only a total of four points between the two games.
The Falcons began the season winning their first three games and then beating host Argonaut in the first round of its tournament. However, the next game spelled disaster with the Falcons being humbled by Franklin.
“I think it made the players see that we needed to put our work in at practice and really set the tone for the whole season,” Forest Lake Christian coach Phil Costantini said. “It gave them a new battle to fight for and raised their level of defense and execution on offense.”
Freshman Josh Cartwright led the team with 11 points per game. Sophomore Matt Rose and freshman Johnny Ummotto added nine and eight points per game, respectively.
Ummotto, one of the team’s point guards, also led the team with six assists per game, drawing praise from Costantini on his improvement throughout the season. Sophomore Zach Rose was the other point guard who excelled on fast breaks.
Sophomore Matt Purwin was named most valuable player and leading rebounder – he was one of the team’s few true post players. Brandon Hall’s athletic talent helped the team as well.
Maxx Mammula and Pierce Azarcon played key defensive roles, especially in the two games against Victory Christian. Using a box-and-one scheme to stop Victory Christian’s best player, the two held him to nine points in the first game and four points in the second game.
Costantini also singled out freshman Billy Corbin as an up and coming leader for the program.
Bear River boys
The Bear River junior varsity boys basketball team experienced a season filled with high and low points. They finished the season with an 8-18 overall record and 3-11 record in the PVL.
“We just never put it all together,” Bear River coach Steve Box said. “We showed flashes of excellence, but never established any consistency. I am proud of the kids for working hard all season long.”
Garrett Smith led the team in scoring with nine points per game, while Garrett Barbic posted 8.7 points per game and was the team’s leading rebounder.
One of the team’s first highlights of the season was beating Nevada Union 55-43 in a game that Smith and Barbic scored 17 and 16 points, respectively. Austin French also lifted his team to a 50-49 win against Marysville, hitting a free throw with no time remaining on the clock.
Chad Smith starred in a 80-40 drubbing of West Campus, hitting seven 3-pointers, with James McCririe hitting four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and overtime in a 51-49 win against Lincoln.
To contact sports writer Stacy Hicklin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.