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Whitney misses shot at clinching outright title

Bear River's Scott too tough as Wildcats fall, 62-50
By: Todd Mordhorst Gold Country News Service
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LAKE OF THE PINES — Whitney High coach Bryce Newell wasn’t thrilled to share the Pioneer Valley League title, but the Wildcats may have to after falling to Bear River 62-50 Wednesday night. Whitney (20-7 overall, 10-2 PVL) could have clinched its first outright PVL crown with a win. Instead, the Bruins beat the Wildcats for the second time this season as standout senior Patrick Scott scored a game-high 27 points for Bear River. “We’re disappointed, but we’re still champions and we’re definitely proud of that,” Newell said. Scott made a strong case for league MVP. He scored 15 in the first half as the Bruins built a double-digit lead. The Wildcats made him work for his 12 second-half points, but they could not contain him. “Scott’s the best player in our league — head and shoulders above everyone else — and he’s one of the best players in the section,” Newell said. “He hit a lot of tough shots tonight.” Bear River could not get comfortable against Whitney, which had a chance to clinch the PVL title outright with a win. The Wildcats trailed by as many as 15 points early in the fourth quarter. But they clawed back into the game, getting with eight points on two occasions. Jordan Wilson led the Wildcats with 16 points, but the Wildcats’ outside shooting let them down. Tanner Mathias had a big putback with 3 minutes, 10 seconds left and Jordan Beskeen had another putback moments later to put the game away. Six different players scored for Bear River in the third quarter as Whitney put the clamps on Scott. “They were definitely all over me and Patrick and the other guys stepped up,” said senior Garrett Barbic, who finished with seven points – all in the second half. “Johnny (Jewett) stepped up with his passing and Jordan and Tanner did a great job rebounding.” Jewett hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points to go with six assists. Beskeen scored eight and Mathias added seven. Mathias also held Whitney’s 6-6 center Derek Knutty to 11 points and just two in the first half. Bear River must beat El Dorado on Friday to share the PVL crown. A loss would give Whitney the outright title. The game was a tough test for the Wildcats, who will likely host a first-round Sac-Jaoquin Section Division III playoff game next Wednesday. “It was a playoff atmosphere, so that was a good thing for us,” Newell said. “It was a tough environment, it was a physical game and we know we have to get better.”