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Girl’s basketball taking no prisoners

The Girl’s Basketball Team won the Louis Langford Invitational. Courtesy photo

Bear River girls’ basketball started off the season with a slam-dunk victory.

The Lady Bruins won first place with a 3-0 record at the Louis Langford Invitational, at Live Oak High School on November 30th-December 2nd. Friday’s game was won 62-40 against Quincy. Junior Katelyn Meylor, a point guard, was top scorer with 13 points, Mallory Rath, also a junior and center, scored 10 points, and senior Grace Sypnicki, a shooting guard, ended the game with 9 points.

“The team we played was very tenacious, very young, but very aggressive,” said head coach Randy Billingsley. “They came out and put a shock on us for the first quarter, which I think was good for our team. It kind of made them realize that they had to get serious.”

The team started off the first quarter falling behind by eight points, but took the lead in the second quarter, scoring 28 points and holding Quincy to 4.

“I think the turning point was when Mallory Rath came in the game and just became a pivotal game changer in terms of defensive pressure, offensive post rebounding, and just the energy she brought was fantastic,” said Coach Billingsley.

“I felt that our energy was down so I wanted bring it up, so I stopped thinking and just started to play,” said Rath. “What was going through my head was that, after one play, I was on to the next play. I wanted to do well for my team so I tried my hardest to just play!”

Assistant coach Emily Guerra shared her feelings about the tournament.

“Coming into this first tournament, I was excited to start the preseason, especially with this wonderful group of young women that we’re working with,” she said.

“Our team came together as a family throughout the tournament and every single player stepped up, making it possible for us to start the season undefeated,” said Meylor. “By our last game, we had our rhythm down and came out with the first place trophy to bring back to our school. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together going forward with our new team and great coaching.”

Sypnicki also discussed the team’s performance in the tournament.

“I think on Wednesday, we weren’t really all bought into it, but as we started realizing that we could win the tournament, we all got excited and played with a lot more energy on Thursday and Friday,” she said. “I’m so proud of everyone and how well we played overall in this tournament.”

Both Sypnicki and Meylor were chosen as All Tournament players.

“Katelyn Meylor has carried us every game in the preseason with her on the court leadership, her skill, her ability to read defenses, her tenacity in attacking the rim,” said Coach Billingsley. “She had nearly fifty points in this tournament. She scored when we needed to in the critical moments the first game, which was a four point win against Willows, and really she carried us that game, offensively and defensively.”

“I was inspired by my teammates’ hard work over the course of the tournament and was motivated to play my best for them so it was an honor for me to be selected for All Tournament Player,” said Meylor.

“For Grace Sypnicki, I would have to say her senior leadership was fantastic, and her defense was fantastic, and I have to say that her three point shooting percentage was superb,” commented Coach Billingsley.

“For All Tournament, I was honestly a little surprised to be chosen at first, just because I figured it would go to one of the starters,” said Sypnicki. “But I think that by giving it my all whenever I played and by working hard on defense, I was able to earn it, I was really excited to get it.”

The team is looking forward to the rest of the upcoming season.

“I think that coming into this season with this tournament win under our belts will give the girls a sense of confidence in the new up-tempo game that we’re bringing to the table,” said Coach Guerra. “It’s fun, it’s exciting, and I think that the more opportunities that we have to practice that, the more fun it will be for them and, in turn, the more fun you have, the harder you’re going to play.”

Rath certainly is excited to see what the team can bring this year.

“I am feeling good about the season,” she said. “Even with the bigger schools I still feel that we have a fighting chance! We are a new, fresh team and those big schools better watch out! Here comes the new and improved Bear River!”

According to Coach Billingsley, the girls have a tough season ahead of them.

“I think this will build some confidence for us, however we are going to have some adversity in the next few weeks that we are going to have to rise to the challenge against,” he said. “I think that these wins will give us some of the foundation to go into those tough environments and continue to battle. Also, going towards the season, I wanna say that the next couple weeks are very important for us because we are going to play some very high level opponents who will get us battle tested for tough league.”

Bear River is going to have to fight this season, but the girls said they are on board to show the Pioneer Valley League the new and improved Lady Bruins. Coach Guerra said excitement was in the air.

“I think that the girls are excited,” she said. “I know coach and I are excited to get this season rolling and to see where it takes us.”

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Girl’s basketball taking no prisoners