Top-rated Lady Bruins tumble against Whitney
At one end of the court stood the No. 1 rated team in Division IV in Bear River’s Lady Bruins and at the other end awaited the Whitney Wildcats, the 19th seed in Division III.
Whitney had never beaten a Lady Bruins varsity girls basketball team prior to Wednesday night’s Pioneer Valley League matchup at Bear River’s McCrory Gymnasium.
That’s no longer the case.
Bear River turned the ball over five times in the final two minutes of the game and allowed Whitney senior guard Kristine Lynch to hit three 3-point shots to lead the Wildcats in a 18-6 final quarter for a 51-46 win as the clock at McCrory Gymnasium ran out.
“We played really bad,” said Bruin coach Jeff Bickmore. “This was our worst quarter of the season. We had a lot of stupid turnovers and left their shooter open. Give them credit. They hit the shots.”
The Bruins forced 11 of the Wildcats’ 21 turnovers in the third quarter, two of which came when Emily Guerra stole the ball. Guerra finished with six points and seveb steals. Kelsey Uno, who finished as the team’s leading scorer, hit two consecutive threes that moved the Bruins to their largest lead of the night at 37-27. That spurt was part of a 12-0 run that saw Bear River holding the Wildcats scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half.
“Our defense was our offense,” Bickmore said. “To bad we have to play four quarters.”
Bear River trailed after the first period, 14-10, and 27-25 at the half, but took the lead when Jenn Meylor hit two free throws at with 7:05 on the clock in the third. Meylor, who totaled five points on the night, sank both charity tosses to take its first lead of the night at 28-27. The Bruins maintained control for the rest of the quarter, holding a 40-33 lead at the quarters end.
Then, as Bickmore said, “We fell apart.”
Senior Riley Pearson had 11 points with eight rebounds and junior Lindsey Harter had five with six rebounds for the Bruins. The Wildcats relied on sophomore Alex Rodriguez, who led all scorers with 16.
The Bruins now must go on the road for its final game of the regular season, facing El Dorado (21-1, 10-0), the fifth-rated Division III team that has won 15 consecutive games, including a 51-45 victory over Bear River. The Cougars have been led by senior forward Mikaela Macklin’s 13 points and 11 rebounds per game.
The top four seeded teams will have home games in the first and second rounds of the playoffs. The Bruins, as well as all postseason teams, will find out their final divisional rating when the playoff schedule comes out Sunday.
“The loss will move us down in the power rankings,” Bickmore said. “Wherever we end up, we end up.”
Scott P. Hopper is a sports writer for The Union. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4231.
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