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Bear Cubs fall to Sierra at home, take second place in Big 8

Bear Cubs fall to Sierra at home, take second place in Big 8

SRJC 56, Sierra College 71

            For their final game of the regular season, the Bear Cubs (18-10, 9-4) hosted the top team in the Big 8, the Sierra College Wolverines (23-6, 12-1). Both teams came up empty on offense until the Wolverines scored the first two points of the game on free throws at the 8:32 mark. They made their first field goal on their next possession. Niambi Saint Louis' field goal got the Bear Cubs on the scoreboard with 7:51 on the clock. When Kerianne Noonen scored on a drive 70 seconds later, the Bear Cubs were behind 4-6. Then the Wolverines scored a field goal and their point guard, Barbara Keomany converted a 3-point play for an 11-4 lead with 5:16 left. The Bear Cubs were dealt a huge blow when Kerianne Noonen dislocated her kneecap as she fouled Keomany and had to be helped off the court. The Wolverines proceeded to outscore the Bear Cubs 13-5 during the remainder of the quarter to jump out to a 24-9 lead.

            The Bear Cubs started the second quarter with the ball and Meme Nicolis dropped in 3-footer after just 16 seconds. But it only took the Wolverines 11 seconds after that to score their first field goal. Brooke Santander scored on a drive then the Wolverines sank two free throws. One field goal each by Brooke Santander and Ashley Hart closed the gap to 17-28 with 7:26 on the clock. The Wolverines added one free throw and two 3-pointers before Santander hit a jump shot with 3:55 remaining. The Wolverines finished the quarter with two free throws and a 3-pointer, while Santander made 3 free throws Niambi Saint Louis one field goal, as the visitors took a 40-24 lead into halftime.

            The Bear Cubs scored the first six points of the third quarter on one layup by Vai Thompson and two by Brooke Santander. The Wolverines scored 12 unanswered points for a 52-30 lead with just under three minutes remaining. Then Niambi Saint Louis made two short shots on assists from Kerianne Noonen, who was able to play again after her kneecap was put back into position. Ashley Hart sank a field goal with 16 seconds left, but the Wolverines hit one 12 seconds later for a 54-36 lead by the end of the quarter.

            The Bear Cubs again recorded the first six points of the quarter on shots by Jenna Dunbar, Kerianne Noonen, and Brooke Santander. The Wolverines countered with a 3-pointer and one free throw 32 seconds after it. Then Noonen scored on a drive. The Wolverines made two free throws a minute later for a 60-44 lead. Jenna Dunbar and Niambi Saint Louis hit back-to-back buckets to cut the deficit to 48-60 with 4:42 remaining. The Wolverines threw up an off-balance shot that banked in, and then Jenna Dunbar hit a jumper. Keomany converted another 3-point play with 3:23 on the clock for a 65-50 advantage. Niambi Saint Louis drew a shooting foul, as only the second Bear Cub to get to the foul line, and made one free throw with 2:51 left. The Wolverines made one free throw and one field goal before Brooke Santander sank a tough shot with 1:12 to play. The Wolverines finished with one more field goal and one free throw, while Jenna Dunbar completed the Bear Cubs' scoring with the team's only 3-pointer. The 56-71 loss drops the Bear Cubs into a 3-way tie for second place.

            The taller Wolverines outrebounded the Bear Cubs on the offensive glass 18-8, outscoring them 13-5 on second chance opportunities. The Bear Cubs made two more baskets than their opponents, but the Wolverines made 7 more from beyond the arc. The Wolverines made 17 out of 25 free throws, while the Bear Cubs only got to shoot 8, making 5 of them.

            Brooke Santander made 8 out of 15 shots and 4 free throws for a total of 20 points. Jenna Dunbar and Niambi Saint Louis each scored 11 points. Kerianne Noonen was able to return to action to play a total of 18 minutes and finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Ashley Hart added 4 points, and Vai Thompson and Meme Nicolis 2 each. Jenna Dunbar was the leading rebounder with 7.