Calaveras overpowers Bear River

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LODI - It was a painfully familiar scene for the Bear River High girls Wednesday evening at Tokay High School. Calaveras celebrated a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal victory over the Bruins for a second straight year, cruising to a 61-46 win. The Redskins beat the Bruins 62-40 last season. They once again used their advantage on the front line and the leadership of point guard Nikki Gleason to break down Bear River. "Their posts did a good job getting in there and getting offensive rebounds and they played great defense on (Jenn) Meylor," Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore said. "We lost to a good team.” Meylor overcame Calaveras' tough defense to score 15 points. Junior Savannah Welz added 11 and Cindy Solomon scored nine off the Bruins' bench. Gleason scored a game-high 17 to lead the balanced Redskins. Forwards Brianna McGinness and Madison Cox scored 15 apiece. Bear River looked sharp early, thanks in large part to senior Breanna Gatto. She scored five points early, including a three-pointer that helped the Bruins build a 9-2 lead. The Redksins stayed the course, pushing the pace and taking advantage of their height in the paint to battle back. They outscored Bear River 20-10 in the second quarter, including an 8-0 run to end the half, as they took a 30-24 lead. Calaveras was in total command in the third. Bear River managed just five points – all on free throws – while Cox, McGinness and Gleason combined for 15 points. “We sized up on them,” Gleason said. “We had more height than them, which was nice for a change. Our posts do an amazing job and we wanted to get the ball inside to them. In the third quarter the momentum changed and we started hitting shots and getting in a rhythm.” Bear River had been able to overcome its lack of height more often than not this season thanks to gritty play from junior Sarah Hagar, senior Brenna Klauer and sophomore Teryn Rath. However the Redskins dominated the glass on both ends of the floor, living up to their status as the top seed in Division IV. “They have a great team,” Gatto said. “Their height just got to us. They were bigger and we weren’t able to rebound well enough.” The Bruins will play on the road Tuesday to open the CIF Northern California playoffs. Bickmore said he is hoping his team can regroup and have a strong showing against what is sure to be a powerful opponent. “We have another week for NorCals and we want to work hard and prepare for that,” Bickmore said. “We don’t want to show up and now compete.”