BEAR RIVER HIGH – By Jessica Tanner – Feb. 23, 2020
The Lady Bears basketball team headed into the playoffs with a 9-13 record and was the 12th place seed in the RPI system. After defeating Ben Lomond, the Bears were knocked off in round two by Region 11 foe, Green Canyon.
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, Bear River hosted Ben Lomond, the 21st seed team in 4A. Although the Bears expected an easy win, they got off to a rocky start.
“We were hoping we would have been able to get a lead on them early, but it was a little slower than I expected,” said Coach Tyrell Neal. “We missed a lot of shots right off the bat. We have to get our nerves under control and laser in on that first quarter, which has been a struggle this year.”
Although the first quarter started slow, the Bears worked hard and played defense in order to take a 15-5 lead. In the second quarter several bench players saw some time on the court and helped the Bears extend their lead 29-7 headed into halftime.
Bench players gained even more varsity experience in the second half and the Bears pulled off the 48-24 win. Junior Olivia Taylor led in scoring with 16 points. The next top scorer was sophomore Carlee Miller, who had eight. Nine other Bears contributed one to three points each.
The Bears were headed to the next round, but had to go up against Green Canyon, the fifth seed and a team they had already lost to twice in region play.
When asked about the matchup, Neal said, “We’ve made a couple of adjustments we are hoping will work and keep the game close. We have to have a better start than we had tonight.”
On Saturday, Feb. 22, the Bears headed over the mountain to face the Wolves for a third time. They hoped for a close contest, but the Wolves came ready to defend their home court.
In the first quarter the Bears trailed 13-5 and by halftime were down 33-17. The Bears eventually fell 65-40 ending their season and dreams of the state tournament.
“Green Canyon was on fire and hit their threes,” said Neal. “I think we were a little nervous in that first quarter and our deficit continued to grow from there.”
After finishing his first year as the head coach with a 9-14 record, Neal said, “This has been such a great experience. I am very pleased with the direction we are headed and that these girls were able to adapt to a new program.”
Six seniors played their last basketball game as a Bear River Bear, including Kati Gibbs, Makenzie Lorimer, Ashley Roberts, McKenzie Bywater, Rheagen Hartfiel, and Abbie Fuhriman.
“They played hard every game,” said Neal. “It will be hard to replace that experience, but I do have confidence in the younger girls, who will rise to the occasion.”
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