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Bruins get a lift from the bench, top Placer

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Half of Bear River High’s dynamic duo was on the bench with a giant ice pack on his ankle Thursday night at Earl Crabbe Gym. But the Bruin boys basketball team battled past Placer thanks to a huge effort from some unheralded sources. Bear River rallied past the Hillmen 66-57 to remain atop the Pioneer Valley League. Patrick Scott found his usual fine form, finishing with 22 points, but it was Chris Ross and Tommy Goodman who were the difference. Goodman scored eight points in a reserve role and Ross sparked the Bruins with a pair of 3-pointers on his way to seven points. The extra offense was much needed after senior sharpshooter Garrett Barbic sprained his ankle late in the first quarter. “It was a huge step up from our bench,” Scott said. “Chris Ross and Tommy Goodman both played out of their minds.” Placer was in desperate need of a victory to bolster its playoff hopes. The Hillmen (8-14 overall, 2-5 Pioneer Valley League) were in good shape through three quarters as Matt Ross’ three-point play tied the game at 43. But the Bruins (17-6, 7-1 PVL) pulled away. Ross’ 3-pointer from the corner put the visitors up 57-53 with three minutes left. He came up with a key steal down the stretch and the Hillmen struggled to get open looks. “That steal by Chris was huge — that got me going,” Scott said. Jordan Beskeen put the game out of reach in the final minute with a layup off a pass from Johnny Jewett, who was terrific all game long. Jewett scored 17 points, including three 3-pointers. “We just kept pushing, getting layups and then playing good defense,” Jewett said of the Bruins’ fourth-quarter performance. “I love playing in this place. I always have fun playing against Placer. They’re good guys.” Junior Josh Klem scored a game-high 23 points for Placer. Junior Michael Jensen added 12 and Jeff Patton tossed in 10 points along with seven rebounds and five blocked shots. Both teams were in foul trouble for much of the evening. Jensen and Anthony Amara fouled out for Placer while Bear River’s Tanner Mathias and Beskeen both played limited minutes due to fouls. That’s where Goodman stepped in for the Bruins. “He’s a kid that’s worked and worked,” Bear River coach Duwaine Ganskie said. “He’s in there after practice working on his shot and for him to knock down those two jumpers and get two putbacks, it’s great to see him reap the benefits of all that work.” Bear River is No. 4 in this week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV power ratings. The top 16 teams in each division make the playoffs at the end of the season. Placer is No. 22 in the Division III power ratings and its playoff hopes took a big hit with the loss. “We probably have to win out and finish 7-5 (in the PVL),” Placer coach Mark Lee said. “We just didn’t execute in the fourth, but I’m proud of our kids. We’ll keep battling.”