Upset special – Bruins topple top team in league
As soon as the final buzzer sounds after each game, Bear River coach Jack McCrory typically ushers his team straight into the locker room.
But after the Bruins’ 78-76 overtime win against Pioneer Valley League leader West Campus Wednesday, McCrory decided to instead let his players stay on the court, soak up the upset victory and celebrate with the mob of fans that rushed from the stands to engulf his team.
A few days shy of a month ago, the two team teams faced off at West Campus, with the Warriors winning easily by 20 points after suffocating the Bruins with a full -court press. West Campus went into the second matchup 8-1 in PVL play.
Bear River remembered what it felt like to turn the ball over upward of 20 times and was prepared this time for the wrath of the Warrior press.
“I consider this a real team victory,” McCrory said. “All week we have been preparing with a six-man defensive drill against the starters and it was really that second team that prepared the first team for the press.”
So prepared were the Bruins that they found themselves up by 16 points with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter with the score reading 55-39 – and with every bounce of the ball seemingly going in Bear River’s direction.
At least that was the case until West Campus sharpshooters Brian Runge and Daniel Day unleashed a barrage of three-point baskets to pull within one point going into the third quarter. With 2:33 left in the third quarter, Runge and Day hit all seven of their next shots – all being treys.
“It was like deja vu to the Mira Loma game,” Bear River senior guard Matt Elders said. “We were in a zone and they just kept hitting every shot.”
Unlike the Mira Loma game, the Bruins did not fold after the run, but instead dug in for an intense fourth quarter that ended with the two teams knotted at 71. Bear River sophomore Aaron Baker had a chance to end the game in regulation, but missed both free throws.
With 1:19 left to go in overtime, Anthony Logan hit a three-pointer to put the Bruins up 76-75 with Jake Lazor hitting two free throws with 36 seconds left to go to push the lead to 78-75.
Each team then went to the line, with the Warriors making one shot and the Bruins missing a front end of the bonus to leave 15 seconds left on the clock.
West Campus went to its force in the middle, Mark Birts, but Elders tipped the ball away to Logan and the game was over.
Logan ended the night with 24 points, slashing his way to the basket all night to put in an assortment of tough lay-ups and gritty shots.
“He played the best game of his life, period,” West Campus coach Rob Richards said. “He played with no fear whatsoever and played to win and to make shots. Last time, I think the Bruins played not to lose or not to miss baskets, but tonight they came out to play for the win.”
Lazor totaled 17 points for the Bruins (12-12, 5-5) and Runge led the way for the Warriors (16-7, 8-2) with 29 points, including five three-pointers. Birts had 23 points for West Campus.
The Bear River JV team won 52-31 with Walker Davis and Chris McIntosh scoring 11 points, while C.J. Crausby chipped in 10. In the freshman game, Bear River squeaked out a close win, 35-31, with Jordan Turner scoring 11 points.
Pioneer Valley League
West Campus 13 22 25 11 5 – 76
Bear River 19 23 19 10 7 – 78
West Campus (76)
Birts 10 3-6 23, Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Voska 1 0-0 3, Wright 1 0-0 3, Day 5 0-0 11, C. Jackson 2 1-2 5, Runge 12 0-0 29. Totals 33 4-8 76.
Bear River (78)
Lazor 6 4-4 17, Fredrickson 0 0-0 0, Mocek 5 0-0 11, Elders 2 2-2 7, Logan 9 3-5 24, Baker 3 0-2 9, Wadman 4 2-2 10, Grebe 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 11-15 78.
Three-point goals – Runge 5, Logan, Day 3, Lazor, Baker, Elders, Mocek, Voska, Wright 1. Total fouls -29.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.