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Bear River girls claim Coach 'G' title over Placer

By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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If this was a taste of things to come, foothill girls basketball fans are going to be in for some sweet treats when Pioneer Valley League play rolls around. 
 
Squaring off in a non-league game, the Bear River girls and Placer took part in a thriller at Earl Crabbe Gym with the Coach “G” Memorial Tournament Trophy on the line.
 
Both teams held double-digit leads at one point or another but the unbeaten Bruins had the advantage when it mattered most — in the fourth quarter. 
 
Kaitlyn Reina scored 24 points, Cindy Solomon added 14 and the Bear River girls beat Placer 58-55 Saturday night in Auburn. 
 
The Lady Hillmen (10-2) had a 16-6 lead after the end of the first period, but couldn't contain tournament MVP Reina and Solomon, who combined for 25 of the Bruins' 27 first-half points. 
 
Bear River took a 27-23 lead into the break.
 
“I feel like we all just got kind of nervous,” Reina said of her team’s slow start, “but we all talked about it and pulled our team together and we came out and stayed strong and came back.” 
 
Solomon made four uncontested 3-pointers on the night, including three in the second stanza, for the unbeaten Bruins (11-0).
 
“They figured out our press and were able to get open shots and open threes,” Placer coach Tony Camillucci said.
Placer trailed by 11 points for a majority of the second half, but came within 52-50 with 1:39 to go thanks to two treys from Kirstin Schauble (16 points). 
 
“They’re a very good team,” Bruins coach Jeff Bickmore said of Placer. “They run good stuff, they got good players, they got a lot of depth. Their players were definitely a lot more fresher than ours at the end. They run a lot more kids than we do. 
 
“I was definitely concerned, but we found a way to hang on luckily. They played tough. Both teams played really hard. We’re going to have a couple of more battles this year.”
 
Elena Daniel (12 points) made a last-second 3-pointer from half court just before the final horn to cut Placer’s losing margin to three points. 
Schauble and Lauren Collin (eight points), representing Placer, were named to the all-tournament team. Bear River's Teryn Rath and Solomon were also selected to the team. 
 
PVL play starts in early January. Bear River visits Auburn on Jan. 18 and hosts Placer on Feb. 5.  
 
“Hopefully we’ll get them in league,” Camillucci said. “… It’d be nice to win a Coach “G” but a banner stands in your gym forever.”
 
Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel