PREP BASKETBALL: Bruins can’t catch Cougars; Miners fall to Zebras |

PREP BASKETBALL: Bruins can’t catch Cougars; Miners fall to Zebras

Bear River’s boys basketball team couldn’t keep pace with the Center Cougars Wednesday night, falling to their Pioneer Valley League combatant, 81-72, at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.

“We got a little tired. It was a tough week for them,” said Bear River head coach Ralph Lewis. “I think we left it all out on the court. They played hard.”

It was a game the Bruins (9-15, 4-5 PVL) needed to win to stay in contention for the third and final automatic playoff spot alloted to the PVL. The loss locks Bear River into fourth place in league play. For Center (12-13, 6-3 PVL), the victory moves them into a tie with Foothill (6-19, 6-3 PVL) for second place. Marysville (17-9, 8-1 PVL) has already clinched the league title.

The Bruins came out of the gates strong against the Cougars and grabbed a 23-20 lead after one quarter. Bear River led by as many as five points midway through the second quarter, thanks to strong play by senior guard Justin Powell and sophomore forward Harrison Alexander.

Powell led all Bruins with 23 points in the game, including five made 3-pointers. Alexander shined in the post and finished with 22 points.

The Cougars clawed back and snatched the momentum, along with the lead, in the final minutes of the half with a 15-4 run.

Trailing 46-40 to start the third quarter, the Bruins chipped away at the deficit, getting buckets from senior point guard Caleb Lowry, senior forward Brad Smith, Powell and Alexander. Smith’s inside score in the final seconds of the third pulled the Bruins to within three, 62-59. That’s as close as they would get though.

Center opened the final frame on a 14-3 run and never looked back.

“We got another game to play,” said Lewis. “They have nothing to be ashamed of. They played hard. The ball didn’t bounce our way late. We got some great performances from some guys.”

Smith finished with 12 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds. Lowry added eight points and had four assists.

Center was led by James Cook with 20 points and T.J. Fox with 19 points.

The Bruins close the season at home at 8 p.m. Friday against Lindhurst (6-16, 1-8 PVL).

Lincoln 71,

Nevada Union 69

The Miners gave the Zebras all they could handle, but came up just short Wednesday night at Albert Ali Gymnasium.

After falling behind by 10 in the first quarter, Nevada Union charged back in the second frame and went into halftime down by one, 32-31. Lincoln outscored the Miners, 16-10, in the third and pushed the lead back up to 10 in the fourth quarter. NU rallied late thanks to some sharp shooting by Charles Wilcoxen, who hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull the Miners back in contention. NU had chances to take the lead in the final seconds but couldn’t pull off the upset.

Wilcoxen hit seven 3-pointers in the game and led all Miners with 23 points. Sophomore post player Milo Goehring followed with 20 points.

The loss drops the Miners to 9-18 overall and 3-6 in FVL play. They are tied for fourth place with Rio Linda (9-13, 3-6 FVL) and Placer (10-17, 3-6 FVL). There is a three-way tie for first between Lincoln (19-8, 6-3 FVL), Ponderosa (17-10, 6-3 FVL) and Oakmont (17-5, 6-3 FVL).

Nevada Union wraps the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday with home game against Rio Linda.

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

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