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Bear River girls crush Center, are co-champs of PVL

By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
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ANTELOPE — Knowing that a win clinches at least a share of the Pioneer Valley League title, the Bear River girls basketball team used a 13-0 run to start the game en route to a 65-41 win over Center Thursday night.
Coming into the regular season finale, the Bruins were tied with Placer and Colfax for first place. And with the top three teams playing the bottom three teams in the PVL, it was win, and you’re in.
All three won Thursday night.
“Obviously you would rather win one by yourself, if you can, but we had a lot of good competition in league and all three teams battled hard,” Bear River head coach Jeff Bickmore said. “So, it is what it is — three good teams battling each other all of the time.”
Bear River (23-3, 8-2) is no stranger to success in the sport. The Bruins have won 10 Sac-Joaquin Section titles, including six consecutive in Division IV from 1993-95 and in D-III from 1996-98.
The Bruins also won back-to-back section titles under Bickmore in 2006-07.
But the head coach says the players know the winning history of the program and want to add to the list this season.
“They understand that. They know there is a tradition and we talk about that,” Bickmore said. “But they want to build their own tradition. And they want to have a year people talk about, so they are hoping to make a good run.”
On Thursday, the Bruins continued to play unselfish basketball with no player scoring more than 12 points, but four scored in double figures. The Bruins never trailed Center (11-16, 3-7).
Senior Sarah Hagar and junior Kaitlyn Reina scored 12 points while senior Savannah Welz scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds and junior Teryn Rath scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Jennifer Alberts also chipped in with nine points.
“With our team, we really don’t have any set scorers,” Bickmore said.
“Every night we can have someone different score for us.”
Bear River was in first place in the final power rankings released on Monday for D-IV.
But the loss to Placer on Tuesday night could shake things up a bit.
No new power ranking will be released again before the brackets are released next Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Regardless, Bickmore is confident in his team.
“We should have a really good seed and have a good path to get at least a couple home games,” he said, “which would be nice.”