Post play likely big factor on Thursday |

Post play likely big factor on Thursday

When No. 2-seed Bear River tips off play in the CIF State Basketball Championships Thursday, the Bruins will do so against a Gridley team led by one of the Northern Section’s top scorers.

Aida Vance, a 5-foot-10-inch post player, has averaged 16.9 points per game – with a season-high of 30 points – for the Bulldogs.

Vance does most of her work in the paint, where she’s also grabbed 7.6 rebounds per game, including a season-high 17 boards in a 67-57 loss to Yreka in the Northern Section championship last Friday.

A key to the contest will be how Vance matches up with Bear River center Lauren Juric, a 6-2 senior recruited by UC-Davis to play basketball next fall. Juric averaged 16.5 points per contest this season, including a season-high 35, along with 7.8 rebounds.

The Bulldogs (21-6) have a balanced supporting cast with four players averaging at least seven points per game. Sarah Nichols, a 5-9 junior forward in second on the squad in scoring (7.5), while 5-9 senior forward Alexa Warren (7.3) also offers added punch up front.

Leeann Kossow (7.2 ppg.), like Vance, is a 5-10 junior center, while 5-3 junior guard Meuy Saeliew (7.1) controls the backcourt.

For Bear River (24-7), it’s a similar story as the Bruins help out Juric by sharing the load offensively. Rachel Harter, a 6-1 senior forward, averages 6.8 points per game, while Chandre Uno, a 5-4 junior guard, has scored at a 6.4 clip. Katie Thompson, a 5-7 senior, has scored 5.5 points per contest.

Prior to falling to Yreka in the Northern Section final, the Bulldogs had won 12 of their final 14 games.

Bear River, including Saturday’s 57-27 section championship win over Ripon, is riding a nine-game winning streak entering action Thursday. The Bruins have won 14 of their last 15 contests.

Action is set to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday inside Bear River’s McCrory Gymnasium. Tickets are $9 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.

Thursday’s winner at Bear River, will face the winner of the first round matchup between Valley Christian (21-10), the Central Coast Section champion, and Marin Catholic (19-12), the North Coast Section runner-up.

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