PVL: A league they own
Talk about anticlimactic.
Despite the fact that Bear River’s varsity girls basketball team had just sealed at least a share of their second-straight Pioneer Valley League championship Wednesday, there were no students storming the floor and no eruption of elation from the Bear River bench.
Bear River 56, Mesa Verde 32 – just another day on the job of a Bruin basketball player.
By routing the second-place Mavericks (13-9, 7-2 PVL), the Bruins (22-2, 10-0) looked every bit ready to claim the conference crown all to themselves.
But the fact that Bear River has never lost a PVL contest in its two years of action in the league, including a 22-0 mark, left little surprise in Wednesday’s outcome.
“You know, when we played Saturday (a 57-45 win over highly-touted Modesto Christian) there was a real intense feel to it and we just didn’t have that feel tonight,” said Bear River coach Duwaine Ganskie. “The atmosphere was completely different.
“These girls know when they have done the job and when they have achieved something. They achieved something Saturday and tonight they did the job. They did what they had to do.”
Bear River was in control throughout, taking leads of 13-7 and 28-13 at the first two stops. The Bruins led 8-7 with 3:10 to go in the first quarter, before a 10-0 run gave them more cushion than they’d need the rest of the way.
Junior Julie Fry led a balanced Bruin attack, scoring 12 points and grabbing five rebounds. Senior Chelsea Haverty doubled up with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while classmates Kayla Smith and Allison Cooley, scored 10 and nine points, respectively.
“That’s a typical boxscore for us,” Ganskie said. “Nobody has a lot of points. Somebody different leads us (in scoring) each night. And tonight it was Julie Fry.”
The matchup between the PVL’s top two teams was a closer contest the first time around, Smith said, despite the fact Bear River beat Mesa Verde 56-35 on its home floor in that Jan. 13 showing.
“The last time we played them it was a really physical game,” she said. “We beat them, but it seemed a lot closer.
“Tonight, it seemed like we hit a lot of our shots, a lot of our threes, and they didn’t seem to hit many.”
Bear River totaled eight 3-pointers on the night, including three from Cooley and two from junior Karli Kephart. On the opposite end, Mesa Verde managed to find the bottom of the net on just two 3-point attempts. One of those treys came from the Mavericks leading scorer Ophilia Key, who scored 10 points on a 3-for-12 shooting night.
With just two conference clashes remaining on the season, Ganskie said his girls are gearing up for the postseason.
“I think we’ve improved since our last game (against Mesa Verde). Our defense is tough,” he said. “We’re making it hard for teams to get easy looks at the basket.
“We always want to win the league championship and, not to sound arrogant, but we always feel like we’re going to win it. We’re looking forward to going into playoffs. That’s our focus, trying to get ready for the tournament and see if we can advance to Arco.”
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