BEAR RIVER HIGH – By Jessica Tanner – December 10, 2020
After a successful season of Bear River High School sports in the fall, fans were looking forward to another year of basketball. However, 2020 has not been typical and tryouts were delayed two weeks due to a government mandate. Once Bear River High was given the go-ahead they formed their teams and the boys’ team prepared for their annual Winter Classic.
Fans were thrown another curve when they learned tickets would be limited to two per player and would consist of parents only. With no student section to rally their team, the gym had a different, and very quiet, vibe.
“It feels great to be playing again, even with a limit crowd,” said Bear River High’s head coach Reggie Shaw. “There was a time when we were not sure we would and there were a lot of question marks. So, to get things going feels great, we love it.”
“It is a strange thing to not have fans there, but we get lost in the game. We miss the fans and the emotion of high school basketball and having friends and family there, but we know they are home supporting us, watching and doing everything they can to be involved,” he added.
Bear River kicked off the tournament against Canyon View on Thursday, Dec. 3. The Bears took an early 30-22 lead in the first half but lost some momentum as they scored only five points in the third. In the fourth they added 12 and held onto the win 47-44.
Seniors Kace Jones and Jace Jacobson led the way for the Bears in scoring with 11 points each. Josh Payne added 10 while Jarett Giles contributed 8.
“In our first game taking care of the basketball was an issue,” said Shaw. “We had a lot of turnovers and got really loose and careless. Our biggest concern is can we take care of the basketball under pressure.”
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The following day the Bears took on Gunnison Valley High and walked away with a 65-50 win. They started off strong leading 18-12 in the first quarter and then 33-26 by halftime.
Jacobson knocked down 19 points, five of which were from the three-point line. Jones followed close behind with 18. Garrison Marble and Chase Adams each added seven.
“We have had some great individual performances, but we all know they are going to win as a team,” said Shaw. “The most impressive things to me are the team stats. We had 21 assists on 23 shots last night (Friday, Dec. 4) and in the first game we played 13 guys who all stepped in and did something good. This is a team that plays together and doesn’t get caught up in who is doing what, they just go out and win. I love the feel of this team and the personalities.”
The Bears wrapped up the tourney by defeating Ben Lomond High 57-43 for a 3-0 record on the season.
Bear River took an early lead in the first quarter, 16-11, and didn’t let up in the second. They outscored the Scots 11-4 to take a 27-15 lead at halftime. Although Ben Lomond kept things close in the second half, they were never able to make up the deficit and the Bears walked away undefeated.
Once again Jacobson lead in scoring with 19 points and was on fire from the three-point line. Jones was the next top scorer with 10 followed by Gherig Marble, who had nine.
“Our games against Gunnison and Ben Lomond displayed where we are at as a team—that we will smother people on defense, rebound, and pick our spots on offense and move the basketball,” said Shaw. “We are going to be a good basketball team this year. You are going to see a defensive minded, hard nose, athletic, physical basketball team.”
Next up for the Bears was a trip to Roy High School on Wednesday, Dec. 9, to take on former Bear River High boys’ basketball coach Scott Hunt.
The Bears earned their first loss of the season to the Royals, 55-46. Jones contributed 14 points to the Bears’ score with Giles adding 9 of his own.
The Bears will finish off the week by traveling to Cottonwood High School on Friday, Dec. 11.
“Looking down the road we have to prepare for region—it is a grind,” said Shaw. “Our region is always tough and the cream of the crop right now. I think we can land anywhere from first to fifth and the way we look right now we can be in the top few teams of this region.”
The next basketball games to be streamed by Bear River Live will be the match up against county rivals the Box Elder Bees on Tuesday, Dec. 22, for both the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams.
Tip off for the girls’ basketball game is at 5:15 p.m., followed by the boys at 7 p.m.
Watch all the action at www.brlivestream.com/live