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Bear River bounds past Whitney

Scott, Mathias lead Bruins, who look to share PVL title
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LAKE OF THE PINES — After doing the dirty work for 30 minutes straight, Tanner Mathias was able to enjoy himself at the free throw line in the closing moments at Jack McCrory Gym Wednesday night. The Bear River High senior isn’t known for his free throw form, but he was able to shrug it off after pulling in 15 rebounds to spark the Bruins to a 62-50 win over Whitney. Bear River earned a shot at its first league championship since 2003 by beating the Wildcats for the second time this season. “It means a lot,” Mathias said. “We’d love to put another banner up in here. It feels really good.” Patrick Scott made a strong case for Pioneer Valley League MVP, pouring in 27 points. He scored 15 in the first half as the Bruins (19-7 overall, 9-2 PVL) built a double-digit lead. The Wildcats made him work for his 12 second-half points, but they could not contain him. “Scott’s the best player in our league — head and shoulders above everyone else — and he’s one of the best players in the section,” Whitney coach Bryce Newell said. “He hit a lot of tough shots tonight.” Bear River could not get comfortable against Whitney (20-7 overall, 10-2 PVL), which had a chance to clinch the PVL title outright with a win. The Wildcats trailed by as many as 15 points early in the fourth quarter. But they clawed back into the game, getting with eight points on two occasions. Jordan Wilson led the Wildcats with 16 points, but the Wildcats’ outside shooting let them down. Mathias had a big putback with 3 minutes, 10 seconds left and Jordan Beskeen had another putback moments later to put the game away. Six different players scored for Bear River in the third quarter as Whitney put the clamps on Scott. “They were definitely all over me and Patrick and the other guys stepped up,” said senior Garrett Barbic, who finished with seven points – all in the second half. “Johnny (Jewett) stepped up with his passing and Jordan and Tanner did a great job rebounding.” Jewett hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points to go with six assists. Beskeen scored eight and Mathias added seven. Mathias also held Whitney’s 6-6 center Derek Knutty to 11 points and just two in the first half. “The key for me was we brought in (Bear River girls coach Jeff) Bickmore) for practice and he’s big and strong,” Mathias said. “That definitely helped me get ready.”