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PVL girls title race a free-for-all

PVL Girls Basketball Preview
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The role of favorite in the Pioneer Valley League girls basketball title race remains vacant, but that won’t be the case for long. With two-time league champion El Dorado transferring to the Sierra Valley Conference, the PVL’s coaches and players are hard-pressed to pick a frontrunner this year. The standings will begin to take shape tonight as the PVL slate kicks off. Bear River High and Colfax have looked strong throughout the non-league schedule while Placer, Center and Foothill have all shown they can keep up with the league’s best. Here’s a look at each PVL girls basketball squad: Bear River (14-3) The Bruins have developed into a serious contender for their first PVL crown since 2006 thanks to a balanced offense and a scrappy defense. Bear River begins league play tonight at Lincoln. The Bruins have won eight straight games, including impressive performances against Ponderosa, River City, Whitney and Rocklin. Senior Lindsey Harter averages nearly 14 points per game while senior Kelsey Uno adds 11. Junior Jenn Meylor has played well and sophomore Sarah Hagar has come up big for the Bruins. Bear River has also gotten a nice lift from sophomore Sara Schell, who joined the team late in the season after an outstanding volleyball season. Colfax (12-5) The Falcons have faced a tough schedule and emerged with a solid record as they look to improve on last season’s second place finish in the PVL. Senior Michelle Walker averages close to 13 points a game and April Littlejohn tosses in 10, but the Falcons’ calling card is defense. Del Oro is the only team to score more than 55 points on them this season. Colfax owns quality wins over Whitney, Folsom, Granite Bay, Ponderosa and Woodcreek (two). The Falcons will face Foothill on the road to begin league play tonight before a test at Placer on Friday. Placer (6-9) The Lady Hillmen have battled through some early struggles and coach Tony Camillucci is hoping his team can put it all together in PVL play. Placer has lost three games by three points or less and hung tough in recent losses to Woodcreek and Vista Del Lago. Seniors Amy Clark and Marilyn Johnson have played well for the Lady Hillmen while sophomore starters Kerry McCullough, Ariana Jensen and Kirstin Schauble have steadily improved. Center (10-6) The Cougars could be a factor in the PVL race in their first try. Coach Jeff Wise has a balanced club led by senior Jasmine Stoval, who scores 9 points per contest. Seniors Keianna Quinley, Debbie Sanders and Kenya Stark are floor leaders for the Cougars, who will begin their first PVL season with a home game against Placer tonight. Foothill (6-6) The Mustangs could be dangerous as they feature one of the top post players in the league —6-foot junior Lawerell Dobbins. She averages 10 points and 16 rebounds per game while sophomore Elisha Anderson is also scoring 10 points per game. Foothill has been up and down this season, but owns quality wins over Highlands, Folsom and Laguna Creek. Lincoln (6-10) The Zebras have struggled to gain momentum this season under former Colfax coach Dan Hicks. Injuries and illnesses have taken their toll on the Lincoln roster, but the Zebras have won two straight heading into league play. They will face Bear River to open PVL play tonight.