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Bruins rebound in Kendall finale

By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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Bear River High’s Brandon Wooner said he didn’t have any extra pressure on himself Friday night, but the senior center sure played like he wanted to erase the memory of a deflating loss the night before. Wooner grabbed two confidence shots in the first quarter before he lit up the second quarter on the way to an easy 72-47 victory over San Juan in the seventh-place game at the Kendall Arnett Tournament at Earl Crabbe Gym. “It’s not important to just me but the whole team just because we wanted to finish off the year, 2011, with a win and go even (in preseason) and it’s important for playoffs too,” said Wooner who finished with 14 points. Wooner scored six of his team’s 22 points in the second quarter but it was the way he did it that mattered. The Bruins (7-7) were 0-2 in the tournament coming into Friday partly because Wooner fumbled the ball out of bounds in what should have been the final possession of the game. Instead, Bear River gave Colfax the ball back and the Falcons scored a buzzer-beater to win 50-48. Wooner’s second-quarter scoring spree Friday started when he nailed a pull-up jumper from the elbow with 5 minutes, 42 seconds remaining in the half to give Bear River a 23-12 lead. The Spartans (7-7) got back within nine points minutes later when Brandon Hayworth connected on a 3-pointer and Irakliy Pachuliya scooped in a shot. But Wooner stepped back up and hit a turnaround, baseline jumper where he hung up in the air just long enough to locate the rim. The shot triggered an 11-4 run to close out the half. San Juan was playing without its best player in Kevin Daniels, who was out due to an illness, but the Spartans managed to cut a 19-point, third-quarter deficit down to nine with 2:28 remaining when it went on an 11-0 run. “We just got complacent,” Bear River coach Duwaine Ganskie said. “You’re up 17 at half, playing for seventh place in an empty gym, it’s kind of hard to keep your energy.” Justin Beskeen scored 12 of the Bruins’ next 21 points before the starters were pulled with 4:11 left in the game. Beskeen led all scorers with 25 points. Bear River went 2-1 against San Juan this season. The Spartans won 63-62 on Dec. 6 and the Bruins won 70-56 on Dec. 17 at the Viking Classic Tournament. “They had a good team,” San Juan coach Tom Henderson said. “They do a lot of things very well and they’re tough. We got them at home early and we felt that was an upset and they got us in the tournament earlier. There’s only one place we’d like to see them again this year (the playoffs).”