Bruins run away with a big win

Bear River dominates Placer as playoff hopes hang in the balance
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LAKE OF THE PINES ? Two desperate basketball teams met at Bear River High Tuesday night. Talore Spencer and the Bear River High girls were able to dig a bit deeper than Placer. The Bruins took a step closer to a playoff berth while pushing the Lady Hillmen further from the postseason. Bear River snapped a two-game skid with a convincing 47-25 victory. The Bruins opened the second half with a 12-0 run to turn the game into a blowout as they recovered from a crushing defeat at Colfax last Friday. ?We had to put the Colfax game behind us,? said Spencer, who finished with a game-high 14 points. ?It?s been rocky for us since the last game against Placer and I think tonight was a turning point for us. We finally played to our potential.? Bear River dominated the glass. Jocelyn Fry hauled in 12 rebounds to go with nine points. Junior Whitney Smith grabbed eight boards to accompany eight points. Shelby Madigan had seven rebounds for Placer, but no one else had more than four. Placer stayed close early thanks to some strong inside play from Bailey Bill and Bethany Feis. But Spencer sparked a second-quarter push that helped Bear River (14-8 overall, 4-3 Pioneer Valley League) build an eight-point halftime lead. Kayla Reeves? 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third was Placer?s first bucket of the second half. The Lady Hillmen could not muster the firepower to get back in the game. ?With the losses to El Dorado and Colfax, I think at some point the girls got tired,? Placer coach Scott Barry said. ?We were trying to work the rotation, but it was off. Emotionally it?s tough to get them refocused, but we have three winnable games coming up, so we?re going to try and string together a few wins and get it back.? Kayla Reeves led Placer (6-13 overall, 4-3 PVL) with eight points. Bill scored six. Placer faces an uphill climb to make the 16-team Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff bracket. The Lady Hillmen were No. 19 in the power ratings released Monday. ?After the (non-league) schedule we had, we knew we had to be near perfect (in the PVL) to move forward,? Barry said. ?The two losses we had before this one were deflating and I think their confidence got down. We just need to focus on the next three games.? Bear River?s win should bolster its playoff hopes. The Bruins were No. 12 in the Division IV power ratings. ?This was a big win for us ? after two straight losses we really needed it,? Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore said. ?We?re looking for playoff seeding and you always want to be playing well toward the end of the year.? In junior varsity play Bear River edged Placer 51-47.