Round 2 bound
Jeff Bickmore was speechless Thursday night, but not for reasons he might have liked.
The No. 2 Bear River girls basketball team beat No. 7 Gridley 56-52 Thursday in McCrory Gym, but Bickmore didn’t understand why the game was so close.
“I wish I could explain it,” Bickmore said after winning the first round of CIF State Basketball Championships. “Some of the tight officiating got us out of our system. We didn’t have enough intensity on either end.”
Fresh off Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section championship, the Bruins turned the ball over 19 times and trailed 52-51 with 1 minute, 52 seconds left in the game. They committed 20 fouls, shot 31 percent from the field, and gave up a 14-point second-half lead.
But they won.
Here’s why: Senior Lauren Juric scored 29 points.
“I’m not letting my season end,” Juric said of her thoughts when Gridley took its only lead of the game. “That was a terrible thought, and it went through my mind.”
Juric scored seven points in the fourth quarter, which was a free-throw fest for both teams. Juric, who was 8-for-8 from the foul line for the game, made three of her team’s eight free throws in the final period.
Four players – two from each team – fouled out. From Bear River (25-7), senior guard Katie Thompson was the first to go, followed by junior point guard Chandré Uno.
After picking up three fouls in the first quarter, Uno sat most of the first half and played a total of 12 minutes in the game.
“I know I did foul a couple times, but a couple were questionable,” Uno said. Uno and Thompson were both out by the end of the third quarter, and they were forced to sit through the tumultuous final eight minutes.
“That was the hardest thing,” Uno said. “Me and Katie were sitting next to each other; we were hugging, hoping they would find a way.”
With two starters out of the game for good, Gridley (21-7) slowly chipped away at the Bruins’ lead, which was 45-37 after three quarters. Bear River sophomore Annie Osterholt came off the bench to support the Bruins with nine points.
“(Losing Uno) hurt us a lot, because she’s our only true point guard,” Bickmore said.
Gridley junior guard Meuy Saelew led the Bulldogs with 22 points. Aida Vance, the team’s leading scorer for the season, scored seven points against a Bear River defense that forced 27 turnovers.
No. 4 Yreka beat Gridley 67-57 Friday in the Northern Section championship.
“This kind of happened with us against Yreka,” Bulldogs coach Michelle LaViolette said. “We get this huge momentum and then (the referees) call something, and it’s like boom! And we have to make the adjustments.”
Bickmore’s hope after the game was that “we got that out of our system” before Saturday’s second-round game at 7 p.m. against No. 3 Valley Christian (San Jose).
With the higher seed, the Bruins will host again. If Bear River wins Saturday, the next game on the schedule will be the Northern California championship at 5 p.m. March 17 at Delta College in Stockton.
Valley Christian (22-10) defeated No. 6 Marin Catholic 57-54 Thursday.
To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4247.
Aida Vance 2-6 3-5 7, Leeann Kossow 1-2 0-0 2, Alba Rubio 0-1 0-0 0, Meuy Saeliew 5-12 8-11 22, Sarah Nichols 4-11 4-6 13, Nancy Santana 2-5 0-0 4, Brittney Blaylock 1-3 0-1 2, Brittany Harrington 0-0 2-4 2. Totals 15-40 17-27 52.
BEAR RIVER (56)
Rachel Harter 2-7 1-3 5, Lauren Juric 10-21 8-8 29, Katie Thompson 3-9 0-0 6, Erin Noud 2-5 2-4 7, Chandre Uno 0-4 0-0 0, Tanya Copeland 0-5 0-0 0, Melanie Fry 0-4 0-0 0, Annie Osterholt 1-4 7-11 9. Totals 18-59 18-26 56.
3-point goals – Gridley 5-9 (Meuy Saeliew 4-5, Sarah Nichols 1-4). Bear River 2-13 (Lauren Juric 1-4, Erin Noud 1-2, Katie Thompson 0-2, Tanya Copeland 0-3, Melanie Fry 0-2). Total fouls – Gridley 19, Bear River 20. Fouled out – Gridley 2 (Sarah Nichols, Aida Vance). Bear River 2 (Chandré Uno, Katie Thompson). Technical – none.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.