BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Jessica Tanner - Jan. 9, 2020 -
After a deep run in the playoffs last year the Bear River boys’ basketball team finished second place overall and have recently been proving they are still a high caliber team.
Seniors Mark Huber and Ren Fonnesbeck are returning starters, but several new players have emerged as leaders. The team is even sporting a new coach—Reggie Shaw. This Bear River Alumnus has led the Bears to many victories so far this season, ending preseason with a 9-3 record
The Bears kicked off the season with their annual Winter Classic Tournament the first week of December. Against Ben Lomond the Bears fell behind, 40-34, at halftime. However, they outscore the Scots in the next two quarters and claimed the win 81-70. Huber led the way with 35 points, followed by Fonnesbeck who made 20 and Logan Litchford added 12.
The Bears then squared off with Ogden and sailed to a 78-60 win. They finished off the tourney undefeated as they claimed an easy win over North Sanpete, 65-45.
The following week the Bears hosted Northridge and outscored them in every quarter to secure the 85-69 win and a 4-0 record. Several Bears lit up the scoreboard, including top scorer Huber, who led the Bears with 29 points. He was followed by Litchford, 17, Fonnesbeck, 16, Josh Payne, 12, and Kace Jones, 11.
The Bears geared up for a big game against Roy and their former Coach Scott Hunt. The Royals took a quick lead in the first quarter 16-11, but the Bears fired back and headed into the locker rooms at halftime tied up at 32.
Bear River continued that momentum and outscored Roy 23 to nine in the third quarter to gain a comfortable lead. It was a battle until the end, but the Bears claimed the win 77-59.
Huber was the Bears top scorer with 28, but Litchford, who had something to prove to his former coach, lit up the boards with 19 points, 15 of which were from the three point line.
“I think Logan had a chip on his shoulder because he felt like he had something to offer this team last year and did not get a lot of minutes,” Coach Shaw said. “I tried to fuel that in him a little. Roy came out and said let’s take the ball away from Mark and Ren and dare Logan to beat us. So I said Logan beat them. Show them that they are making a mistake and he stepped up.”
After gaining a five game winning streak at home the Bears hit the road and defeated Cottonwood 55-39. The next day they traveled to Morgan for a rivalry match against the Trojans. It proved to be an off night for the Bears as they quickly fell behind in the first quarter 28-15. By halftime the Bears were down 44-33. The Bears fought until the end, but were unable to match the speed and intensity of Morgan. The Bears suffered their first loss of the season 82-74.
Coach Shaw said, “This is a great basketball team and you cannot give great teams the lead we gave them in the first quarter, on their home floor and expect to come back. I do not remember us having second chance points, it was one shot and done and they had a lot.”
The Bears hoped to have better luck against their county rivals, but were unsuccessful. The Bees outscored the Bears in every quarter and claimed the 90-64 victory, as well as bragging rights for another year.
After Christmas the Bears finished off 2019 by competing in the Juan Diego Tournament. They started off with a win against Elko 61-49. Fonnesbeck was the Bears’ top scorer with 20 points, followed by Litchford who had 16. The Bears then fell to Juan Diego 76-59. The Bears finished off the tourney strong outscoring Layton Christian Academy in every quarter to claim victory, 72-55.
Huber and Litchford lead the way for the Bears with 20 and 16 points. A few players came off the bench to put up some big numbers as well, including Trevin Toone who scored 13 points and Jarret Giles who sunk 12.
On January 3, Bear River headed to Tooele to wrap up their preseason. The Bears took an early lead in the first half, 29-22. The Buffaloes then outscore the Bears in the next two quarters, but it was not enough. The Bears took the narrow win, 56-54. Fonnesbeck led the Bears with 20 points, Huber added 14 while Litchford and Jace Jacobson both added 8.