Reina's gutsy performance not enough for Bear River to overcome Bradshaw Christian

Lady Bruins fall in section title game, 50-40
By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
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SACRAMENTO - The emotions of the bright lights of Sleep Train Arena and playing for the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV championship increased tenfold for Bear River's girls basketball on Saturday.
Following a monster first half for junior Kaitlyn Reina in which the forward for the Bruins scored 16 points in route to a 26-22 halftime lead over Bradshaw Christian, she fell to floor, grabbing her ankle in visible pains with tears running down her face.
The catalyst for Bear River this season went into locker room with, what looked like at first, an ankle injury that would keep her out for the rest of the championship game.
But never count out a competitor in a title match.
Reina returned to the court in the fourth quarter, nailed a 3-pointer to regain the lead 39-37 for the Bruins with 4 minutes, 5 seconds left in the game and appeared to be the emotional lift Bear River needed to withstand a comeback by reigning five-time Div. V champions Bradshaw Christian (27-2).
Sadly, it wasn’t as Bradshaw Christian retook the lead and converted free throw after free throw to seal the victory with a 50-40 win over Bear River.
“They were a really talent team and we had trouble with the penetration,” Bear River head coach Jeff Bickmore said. “It was one of those games where they were good and we weren’t able to sustain the scoring. … I knew they would hit free throws, they are good shooters.”
Bear River (26-4) was playing in the program’s first section title game since winning back-to-back titles under Bickmore in 2006-07.
But Bickmore couldn’t be more proud of his star after the loss. Reina finished with a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds.
“She has carried us all year. I don’t know if there is another girl that I have ever coached that would come back after what she did to her ankle and then be ready to go,” Bickmore said. “She was hurting out there but was willing to come out and play. I can’t say enough about her as a competitor.
“She plays with the most heart and toughness. I was really impressed with her to be able to come back and give it her best.”
Teryn Rath scored 10 points for Bear River in what turned out to be a very good and well-played game for both squads. Both teams combined for just 18 turnovers.
Bradshaw Christian has won six consecutive titles under head coach Mike Ruble, with this being program’s first at the Div. IV level.
Bear River advances to the NorCal regionals starting Tuesday. The brackets will be released Sunday.