PREP BASKETBALL: Bruins roar past Colfax (PHOTO GALLERY)
BR: Justin Powell – 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals
BR: Brekyn Vasquez – 13 points, 7 rebounds
BR: Brad Smith – 12 points, 7 rebounds, five steals
BR: Caleb Lowry – 11 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals
C: Benton Stocks – 23 points
C: Sam Sinor – 13 points
Behind a balanced offensive attack and a tenacious full court press, Bear River’s boys basketball team charged past rival Colfax, 62-52, Tuesday night at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
“I liked that they got through the adversity,” said Bear River head coach Ralph Lewis. “The Colfax-Bear River rivalry tends to get in the kids’ heads more than the athletic ability in the game, but we’re learning how to keep our heads and that will bode well for us through the rest of league.”
After a mixture of cold shooting and good defense resulted in a 7-7 tie after one quarter, the Bruins found their stride in the second quarter. Led by senior Brekyn Vasquez, Bear River scored 23 second quarter points and took a 30-26 advantage into halftime. Vasquez scored 11 of his 13 points in the quarter. He also tallied seven rebounds in the game.
Vasquez was one of four Bruins to score in double digits. Senior guard Justin Powell led all Bear River players with 14 points. Senior wing Brad Smith added 12 points. And, senior guard Caleb Lowry chipped in 11 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
The Bruins also got contributions from senior forward J.R. Malloy and sophomore forward Matt Grimes with six points each.
“I felt like we moved the ball and made the extra pass a lot better today,” said Smith, who also had seven rebounds and five steals in the win. “We have a good offense, and if we start playing better defense, start locking guys down, we can win league.”
The Bruins and Falcons went back and forth early on in the third quarter, with Colfax pulling to within three at 40-37, but Bear River closed the frame on a 10-2 run and took an 11-point advantage into the final stanza.
Colfax hit several 3-pointers down the stretch, but never closed the gap to less than eight as Bear River had an answer for every Falcon run.
“Hard-nosed defense, that’s what it takes,” Lewis said. “You could see when we started to pick it up, we started flying around the floor, put a little extra effort in and you get good results. Without defense we don’t have an offense. We want our kids to be aggressive on defense and that will lead to good shots and transition points for us.”
Bear River’s press defense made it tough on the Falcons all night, forcing multiple turnovers which resulted in transition scoring opportunities for the Bruins.
“We pressured them and when they started fumbling the ball, that’s when we took advantage,” said Smith.
Colfax was led by Benton Stocks, who hit three 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points. Sam Sinor chipped in 13 points.
The win for the Bruins marks their third straight over their Pioneer Valley League rival. Next up for the Bruins (7-11, 2-1 PVL) is a road bout with Center (7-12, 1-2 PVL) at 8 p.m. Friday. Colfax (5-12, 0-3 PVL) is at Lindhurst (6-10, 1-2 PVL) on Friday.
Lewis said the key to success in the PVL is, “simple before sizzle.”
“We got to execute on the simple things,” he said. “Simple before sizzle. We don’t want running, flying one-hand shots, we want strong, powerful takes to the basket. We want good, sharp passes to our shooters, because that’s where we live. We live behind the 3-point line, and we try to execute fundamentally at the rim. When we don’t do that, that’s when we struggle and that’s what you saw in the first quarter.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4232.
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