Lady Bruins rout Ripon to set up second-round rematch
Jeff Bickmore knew Ripon’s Lauren Fedderson was clearly capable of causing trouble for his Lady Bruins in the paint.
But the 6-foot, senior center never really got the chance in Tuesday’s opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Division IV girls basketball playoffs at Bear River’s McCrory Gymnasium.
Bickmore unleashed the Lady Bruin pressure defense to give the visiting 12th seed Indians fits in the backcourt, forcing 33 turnovers en route to a 57-36 Bear River first-round victory.
Fifth-seeded Bear River (20-7) now hits the road on Thursday to face No. 4 Christian Brothers (19-10), which defeated 13th seed Hughson 71-28 in first-round action Tuesday. The game will be a rematch of last season’s second-round matchup, which Christian Brothers won 57-53 on its home floor.
“They’ve got a great post player and a lot of quick guards,” Bickmore said of Christian Brothers. “They’ve got a good team and we’re going to have to play well. There’s no doubt about it.”
Tuesday’s opening-round win saw Fedderson score 23 of Ripon’s 36 points on the night, but she scored 10 of that total in the fourth quarter when the game was essentially already in hand for the Lady Bruins.
“I knew (Fedderson) was tough. I’d heard a lot about her,” Bickmore said. “Obviously, we didn’t have anybody with the size to challenge her. She’s tough down there.
“We made them play a little faster than they wanted to, obviously forcing a lot of turnovers and that was the difference.”
Bear River led 16-8 with seven minutes to go in the first half, after sophomore Jenn Meylor converted a three-point play as she had already scored seven of her 11 points on the night.
“We really depend on both Jenn Meylor and Whitney Smith’s athleticism and energy,” Bickmore said. “When they’re not playing well, we struggle. But if they’re making plays, we do really well.”
Tuesday was much more a case of the latter than the former, as Smith, a senior, scored a team-high 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Junior guard Kelsey Uno added 11 points and senior Riley Pearson added 10, as four Lady Bruins found double figures in scoring.
“Our whole team got ready to play well tonight,” said Meylor. “Our motto now is to push it and give it all you’ve got, because we want to go as far as we can.”
Another Lady Bruin who came up with a key performance was forward Aubry Horne, who came off the bench for two quick buckets to expand a five-point margin to 22-13 with 2:20 to go in the half. The 5-8 junior, who was needed to help fill the void of injured guard Emily Guerra, finished with six points and a pair of rebounds.
“She’s a kid who hasn’t had a lot of chances to play a whole lot,” Bickmore said of Horne. “But she came in and hit two key buckets. To get some offense off the bench that you’re not necessarily expecting is huge. She was ready when she came in and I’m really proud of her.
“(Freshman) Sarah Hagar is another one. She made a lot of plays for us in the press that I was amazed by her anticipation … She’s getting experience and making plays. And she’s going to be an excellent player the next three years.”
After establishing a 24-13 lead at the half, Bear River struggled with its shot early in the third quarter as the Lady Bruins missed their first six attempts from the field. But just as Ripon cut the lead to 26-19, Bear River answered with an 11-4 run to close the quarter with a 39-23 margin.
Uno came up with a pair of back-to-back steals and scores off the press. Smith followed with two buckets off the baseline and Pearson drained a three from the top of the key to close the quarter in command.
“In our last two games (league losses to Whitney and El Dorado), we didn’t play hard from the start,” Uno said. “In the locker room, Bickmore said to get on them quick and really finish them in the first half.”
Bear River 57, Ripon 36
R (16-11) 6 7 10 13 – 36
BR (20-7) 13 11 15 18 – 57
Kendra Contente 2 0-1 4, Sereena Hertel 2 1-3 4, Adrianna Mayberry 2 0-0 4, Lauren Fedderson 9 5-6 23, Rachel Rodriguez 0 0-0 0, Kristy McCann 0 0-0 0, Megan Morris 0 0-1 0, Hanah Allen 0 0-0 0, Alissa Vickers 0 0-0 0, Kala Ulep 0 1-4 1. Totals 15 6-17 36.
Bear River (57)
Kelsey Uno 3 4-6 11, Whitney Smith 5 2-3 13, Jenn Meylor 5 1-1 11, Lindsey Harter 2 0-0 4, Riley Pearson 3 2-2 10, Sarah Hagar 0 0-1 0, Brenna Klauer 0 0-2 0 , Aubry Horne 3-4 0-0 6, Cassidy Best 0 0-0 0, Kyanne Hagar 1 0-0 2, Sage Bonelli 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 9-13 57.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.