PREP BASKETBALL: Bear River bounces Calaveras, advances to 2nd round of Division IV playoffs |

PREP BASKETBALL: Bear River bounces Calaveras, advances to 2nd round of Division IV playoffs


Point leaders

BR: Caleb Lowry – 22 points

BR: Brekyn Vasquez – 15 points

BR: Adam Malik – 14 points

C: Tyler Adams – 18 points

For a program that hasn’t been in the postseason since 2012, the Bear River boys basketball team looked awfully comfortable in its first round playoff victory Wednesday night.

“We just came out and landed the first punch, and made sure they didn’t come back after that,” said junior point guard Caleb Lowry, who played a big role in the No. 8 seed Bruins topping No. 9 Calaveras, 66-39, in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.

Bear River (16-11) didn’t wait long to get the home crowd at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium to its feet as the Bruins opened the game on an 8-0 run, including 3-point buckets from Lowry and Adam Malik.

Lowry did a good job of running the Bruins offense all night and finished with a game-high 22 points.

“Lowry is just a stud,” said Bear River co-head coach Jeff Bickmore. “He’s the most unassuming guy. You would think he’s just a normal kid walking around Bear River, but he’s a player. He’s been our point guard the whole year, and he’s gotten better and better as the season has gone on, and I thought tonight was one of his better games.”

The Bruins led 15-9 after one quarter, and were up 18-13 midway through the second quarter before closing the half on 13-2 run to grab a 31-15 advantage.

“I thought we did a real good job defensively,” said Bickmore. “I thought we trapped in the corner pretty well. We forced them to do some things they weren’t real comfortable with. And, when the ball went inside, we were able to get hands on it and get deflections. What we really did a great job of was weakside rebounding. Justin Powell did a great job, especially in that first quarter. Holding them to one shot was really important for us.”

The Bruins came out of the break strong, getting solid all around play from Lowry, Malik, Powell, Brad Smith and Brekyn Vasquez to extend its advantage to 50-27.

Bear River then put the game away in the fourth, outscoring Calaveras 16-12 down the stretch.

Vasquez, an undersized post player, scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Malik finished with 14. Smith added eight points and pulled down eight rebounds. Powell rounded out the scoring with seven points to go with six rebounds.

The Bruins were impressive from beyond the arc, hitting nine 3-pointers in the game, and getting at least one from each of the five starters. Bear River also did a nice job of moving the ball around and finding the open man for easy buckets inside.

Leading Calaveras (16-13) was senior Tyler Adams with 18 points.

Next up for Bear River is a road playoff game at No. 1 seed Liberty Ranch (27-2) at 7 p.m. today.

“We’re going to have to play extremely well to beat Liberty Ranch,” said Bickmore.”They’re loaded. We played them last year, so I know some of their personnel, but they are really, really good. And, to go into Liberty Ranch, it’s going to be a tough game.

“But, for us, we’re going to be happy for a little while getting this home playoff win. It’s huge for our program.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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