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Bear River, Colfax girls bow out

Bruins, Falcons will be on the road for NorCal playoffs after falling to deep, talented teams in section semis
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LODI — Calaveras High coach John Franceschi remembers the last time his squad faced Bear River in a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game back in 2007, and it wasn’t pretty.
“We got killed,” Franceschi recalled.
So the Redskins weren’t exactly brimming with confidence going into Wednesday’s Division IV semifinal at Tokay High. Even after Summerville built a sizeable advantage over the Bruins, Franceschi was hesitant to sit down on the bench and relax for a moment.
Calaveras used its size, speed and depth to overwhelm Bear River for a 62-40 win.
The second-seeded Bruins’ hopes of playing in the section championship game came crashing down in the third quarter when the third-seeded Redskins outscored them 18-7.
“We could have played better than we did, but we played a real good team,” Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore said. “They have a lot of size and depth and they have a really good point guard, so the credit has to go to them.”
Calaveras threatened to blow the game open early, leading by as many as 12 in the second quarter. But junior Jenn Meylor’s 3-pointer sparked a Bear River run. Lindsey Harter’s trey two minutes later pulled the Bruins to within three.
Samantha Golston erupted for 15 of her game-high 17 points in the second half as the Redskins broke the game open. Janelle Mills added two timely 3-pointers and finished with 10 points for Calaveras.
The Bear River offense never clicked as Calaveras’ size and mobility made the difference.
“We like to get a lot of players on and off the court,” Franceschi said. “We’re real deep and they all understand that if we work together, that’s when we’re at our best. They do a great job of that. There’s not a selfish player on this team.”
The Bruins were undersized in just about every game this season. They still managed to win a share of the Pioneer Valley League crown and pile up 24 wins with just six losses.
“I think this might be the best achieving team we’ve had,” Bickmore said. “To be as small as we were and win a league championship was a big accomplishment. I’m really proud of them.”
Bear River’s season will continue in the CIF Northern California playoffs on Tuesday. The brackets for the NorCal playoffs will be released Sunday.
Modesto Christian 83, Colfax 51 at Lodi — The Falcons did not make it easy for the two-time defending section champions in the semifinal at Tokay High.
Senior Michelle Walker was ill, but played nearly the entire game and finished with 18 points. Junior Haley Biles was also under the weather, but managed 12 points to help keep Colfax close until the fourth quarter.
Colfax trailed 17-15 at the half and 38-25 at the half. The Falcons still had hope before a 24-7 run in the fourth quarter gave the Crusaders a comfortable victory.
Ashley Scott scored eight and April Littlejohn added seven points for Colfax, which will hit the road for a CIF Northern California playoff opener on Tuesday.