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Bear River battles back, but falls short

By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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SACRAMENTO — In one of her biggest hit songs, 1980s pop star Tiffany crooned, “When I think about what could’ve been, it makes me want to cry.” Talore Spencer can relate. Like the rest of her Bear River High teammates, the senior guard managed to hold her head high Thursday night after a tough 57-53 loss to host Christian Brothers in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV girls basketball playoffs. Still, Spencer couldn’t shake the feeling that the Bruins (18-10) could have gone further — especially after the way they fought back from a nine-point halftime deficit and led with 3:42 to go. “Arco is where we should have been,” said Spencer, referring to the Sacramento Kings’ arena, which will host the section title game next week. “We played up to them, especially in the second half. We just started out too slow.” Bear River trailed the defending Division IV champion Falcons (23-16) 32-23 at halftime after being outscored 17-10 in the second quarter. The Bruins, however, still had some fight left in them, and it showed in the third quarter. Twin senior guards Melanie and Jocelyn Fry knocked down a pair of 3-pointers at the beginning of a 16-6 run that propelled Bear River into the lead with 21.6 seconds left in the period. Bruins coach Jeff Bickmore said tighter defense was what helped his team close the gap. “We were not letting them penetrate in the key as easily,” Bickmore said. “We were giving up a lot of layups in the first half, and we really had to step things up defensively as well as shoot well. Our girls really rose to the challenge.” Christian Brothers coach Ron Gully said his team “didn’t value the ball enough” in the third quarter. “We turned the ball over several times, and they hit some big shots,” Gully said. Junior wing Lauren Cox scored for the Falcons at the end of the third quarter, putting Christian Brothers back up by one at 44-43. That set the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter. Sophomore guard Lindsey Harter opened the period for Bear River by banking in a go-ahead 3-pointer. Christian Brothers responded with five unanswered points, but lay-ups by Jocelyn Fry and junior forward Riley Pearson put the Bruins back on top at 50-49. That was the last time the Bruins would see the lead. Senior point guard Megan Padilla scored with her back to the basket for the Falcons with 3:32 to play, tying the game at 51-51 and igniting an 8-0 run that sealed the win for Christian Brothers. Bear River didn’t score again until Pearson hit a layup with 10.4 seconds remaining. Jocelyn Fry led Bear River with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Pearson added 12 points, and Spencer chipped in 11. Senior guard Samiyah Lee led Christian Brothers with a game-high 21 points. “We really tried to focus more on defense while staying focused on offense,” Spencer said. “We just couldn’t put enough buckets in to win.”