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Bruins put the clamps on Capital

By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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SACRAMENTO — Like a vise, the Bear River High girls basketball team clamped down on Capital Christian defensively in merciless fashion — especially in the fourth quarter. Offensively, the Bruins made their unyielding grip on the host Cougars even tighter with solid 3-point shooting. What resulted was a 43-29 Bear River victory Tuesday night in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs. “The big thing was making sure they didn’t score,” Bruins center Annie Osterholt said. “Our team is not a big scoring team, so we had to play tight defense.” “Tight” is putting it mildly. Bear River (17-9) held Capital Christian (21-5) to just two points in the fourth quarter — and those came when junior guard Kathryn Duffek hit a long jumper with 9.2 seconds remaining, after the Cougars’ fate was sealed. “(Capital Christian) was not used to our type of defense,” Bruins assistant coach Merlin Elders said. “We play man-to-man defense all the time and we don’t give up easy shots. They (the Cougars) had to fight for everything, and in the second half, it really showed.” Senior guard Jocelyn Fry, who led the Bruins in scoring with 11 points, drew the assignment of guarding Capital Christian’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Brea Faulk, in the second half. Fry limited Faulk to just five second-half points, none in the fourth quarter. Faulk finished with a game-high 13 points, three below her per-game average. Fry and her twin sister Melanie, who guarded Faulk in the first half, finished with four steals apiece. But it was Osterholt who made the biggest impact defensively for Bear River. The 6-foot-3 senior grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, many on the defensive end, and blocked three shots. “We’re a very small team,” Jocelyn Fry said. “For Annie to step up like that and get all those rebounds was very key.” “This was by far the best game Annie’s played for us all year,” Bruins head coach Jeff Bickmore said. “Every time a shot went up, she was scrambling to get after it. She had a really big effort for us tonight. I’m really proud of her.” Offensively, Bear River scored nearly half of its points (21) from behind the 3-point arc. The Fry twins combined for five of those treys, and they all came at key moments. Melanie Fry, who finished with eight points, hit both of her 3-pointers in the first quarter to give the Bruins an 8-2 lead. After Capital Christian came back to tie the game at 10-10 at the end of the period and took a 12-10 lead on a bucket by senior wing Allison Rowe early in the second quarter, Jocelyn Fry hit a 3 from the corner to put Bear River back in front with 6:08 left in the half. Capital Christian led 16-15 later in the second quarter when Jocelyn Fry took an outside pass from junior guard Whitney Smith and nailed her second trey to put the Bruins ahead for good. Bear River led 22-18 at the half, and after Faulk scored the first three points of the third quarter to pull the Cougars within one, Jocelyn Fry swished her third 3-pointer. After that, Capital Christian never got closer than five points. Guards Talore Spencer, a senior, and Lindsey Harter, a sophomore, also had 3-pointers for Bear River. Harter and Osterholt finished with seven points apiece. “We haven’t shot real well from the 3-point line all year, and the last few games, they’ve been falling,” Bickmore said. “We picked a good time to get hot from the 3-point line.” Bear River, which entered the playoffs seeded ninth in Division IV, will travel to face top-seeded Christian Brothers (22-6) of Sacramento on Thursday. The Falcons routed Bret Harte of Angels Camp 63-34 Tuesday night. “We have to play even better on defense and really make our shots,” Osterholt said of what it will take to knock off Christian Brothers. “They don’t let anyone post up. We have to run our plays right and do it fast.”