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Bear Cubs defense holds down the stretch to beat American River 51-47

Bear Cubs defense holds down the stretch to beat American River 51-47

SRJC 51, American River College 47

             The Bear Cubs (13-9, 4-3) started the second round of Big 8 play by hosting the American River College Beavers (13-7, 3-4). The visitors got on the scoreboard first with a field goal after 41 seconds of play. Jenna Dunbar put the Bear Cubs ahead with a 3-pointer 36 seconds later. The Beavers retook the lead with a field goal at the 8:31 mark. Two free throws by Jenna Dunbar on their next turn with the ball put the Bear Cubs in front 5-4. Niambi Saint Louis sank two free throws a minute later. Over five minutes went by with neither team able to score. Meme Nicolis finally broke the ice with a short shot with 1:53 on the clock. Kerianne Noonen scored final points of the quarter on a drive with 1:15 remaining, as the Bear Cubs held an 11-4 advantage by the end of the period.

            The Beavers started the scoring in the second quarter with a 3-pointer on their first shot attempt. Nearly a minute later Niambi Saint Louis scored the Bear Cubs' first field goal of the period and made another one 50 seconds later for a 15-7 lead. Jenna Dunbar's 3-pointer at the 5:26 mark increased the margin to 20-9. Brooke Santander's 8-foot jumper with 3:18 left put the score at 22-10. Then the Beavers hit two 3-pointers in a row to start a 12-0 run which tied the score at 22 with 37 seconds on the clock. Santander's 3-pointer 23 seconds later put the Bear Cubs back in front 25-22 by the end of the first half.

            The Beavers made three 3-pointers in the first 3:39 of the third quarter, while the Bear Cubs only added two free throws by Hayley Louzao. Brooke Santander made the Bear Cubs' first field goal of the quarter at the 5:25 mark. Jenna Dunbar's 3-pointer put the Bear Cubs back ahead 32-31 with 4:31 on the clock. Free throws tied the game at 33 with 3:13 remaining. Jenna Dunbar's 3-pointer 26 seconds later and Niambi Saint Louis' field goal with 2:07 left stretched the lead to 38-33. The Beavers then hit a field goal and Ashley Hart made one of two free throws. The Beavers sank a 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds showing on the clock to close to within a point, 38-39, as the quarter ended.

            The Beavers again scored first in the quarter. Brooke Santander tallied the next three points on a field goal and one of two free throws. The Beavers tied the score at 42 after a little over two minutes into the period. Vai Thompson's field goal on the Bear Cubs' next possession put her team in front 44-42. It took more than two minutes of play for the Beavers to knot the score at 44. Meme Nicolis' shot from almost under the basket went in with 4:24 on the clock. The Beavers again tied the score with a field goal with 2:58 remaining. Vai Thompson scored the Bear Cubs' final field goal at the 1:21 mark for a 48-46 lead. The Beavers' leading scorer, Hayleigh Filer, was fouled on a 3-point attempt and went to the line to shoot three with 58 seconds remaining. She missed the first, made the second, then missed the third. Brooke Santander grabbed the rebound and the Bear Cubs called a timeout. When play resumed the Bear Cubs tried to run a play but ended up taking an off-balance shot that missed. The Beavers rebounded and called a timeout with 34 seconds on the clock, trailing 47-48. The Beavers got off a shot that was off target and Kerianne Noonen corralled the rebound. She was fouled and went to the free throw line to shoot two with 26.2 seconds left. She made both for a 50-47 lead. The Beavers called their final timeout. They inbounded and tried to drive, but the Bear Cubs, who were below the foul limit, committed a foul before the player could try to shoot. When the Beavers tried to inbound the ball near half court, Niambi Saint Louis flashed in to steal the pass. She immediately passed to Kerianne Noonen, who was fouled with 8.1 seconds to go. Noonen missed the first free throw but made the second for a 51-47 advantage. The Bear Cubs called their final timeout to set up their defensive strategy. The Beavers were only able to get off a desperation shot as time expired, resulting in the Bear Cubs' 51-47 victory.

            Jenna Dunbar led the Bear Cubs in scoring with 14 points, including 4 3-pointers and two free throws. Brooke Santander added 10 points, Kerianne Noonen and Niambi Saint Louis 8 each, Vai Thompson and Meme Nicolis 4 each, Hayley Louzao 2, and Ashley Hart 1. Guards Dunbar, Noonen, and Santander each grabbed 7 rebounds. Noonen passed for 5 assists.