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Bear River takes final brawl with Hillmen, 48-45

Prep Boys Basketball
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LAKE OF THE PINES — There were technical fouls, missed layups and errant passes for much of the night Tuesday at Bear River High. But Justin Beskeen helped turn the rivalry game against Placer into a masterpiece for the Bruins. Beskeen went off for 12 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and Bear River rallied for a 48-45 victory in a particularly heated Pioneer Valley League battle. The Bruins’ late surge followed an ugly stretch of basketball that had coach Duwaine Ganskie wondering how his team won the game. “I told them to go into the locker room and enjoy it because I didn’t have a lot of good things to say about this game,” Ganskie said. “Beskeen was the difference. Our defense was good, not great. We were able to find a couple of ways to score at the end.” The win boosted the Bruins to 4-4 in the PVL and gave them hope for a first-round home game in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs. Bear River was No. 11 in the power ratings released Monday. Placer’s playoff hopes in Division III took a hit as the Hillmen fell to 3-5 in PVL play. They were No. 15 in Monday’s power ratings. The top 16 teams make the postseason. The Hillmen hung around early in Tuesday’s game after the Bruins hit their first five field goals and led 11-3. Placer trailed 21-20 at the half and dominated the third quarter to grab a 34-30 lead. The visitors led by as many as six points at 41-35 with 5 minutes, 56 seconds left. But they managed just two baskets the rest of the way. After Beskeen gave the Bruins a 44-43 lead with a tough reverse layup, Michaeal McNamara answered with a drive to the hoop to give Placer a 45-44 lead. Beskeen tied the game with a free throw, then put the Bruins on top with a 15-foot jump shot. Bear River forced a shot clock violation by Placer before Trevor McGhee made one of two free throws. The Hillmen had a shot for the tie, but McNamara’s 3 missed and McGhee raced upcourt with the rebound as time expired. Beskeen said Placer’s zone defense bothered the Bruins, but they were able to overcome it in the fourth. “In the last quarter we were playing our hardest, even though it was sloppy,” Beskeen said. “I got really excited when I hit that first shot and then the second shot went in and I got going. They started guarding me a lot tighter after the first quarter, but eventually I just adjusted.” Placer senior Cody Riggs scored all 11 of his points in the second half. Senior Alec Knox added 11, Isaiah Pineiro scored 10 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Peter Kean added nine points, five assists and three steals for the Hillmen. Beskeen was a terror on defense with six steals. McGhee had four steals to go with his 10 points. Brandon Wooner added eight points and seven rebounds. In junior varsity play, Bear River defeated Placer 69-66 in overtime.