Bear River could not quite write the fairly tale ending to what undoubtedly was a fantastic season for the Bears as they fell just short of capturing an elusive state championship against a powerful Sky View team. The Bears entered the game having lost twice to the Region 12 foe already this season and both games were by double figures. With that in mind, many casual observers figured the third meeting would have a similar result and while the ultimate ending produced the same winner, the game was much, much more competitive the third time around.
After the pomp-and-circumstance that accompanies a State Championship game, i.e.; dim the lights, spotlights, full team introductions and the like, both teams started the game with the intensity and energy that one would expect. The Bears were laser-focused and four different players knocked sown three-point shouts in the opening stanza to put Sky View back on their heels. Kelton, Ren, Wyatt and Parker all nailed big shots from downtown to get the Bears off to a great start. Sky View kept pace as Sam Phipps contributed 6 points to the Bobcat cause in the quarter and Sky View had a two point lead at the end of one.
Kelton Summers had a huge first half as he showed the crowd that he was ready for his moment in the championship game and he stuck three more three-point shots in the 2nd quarter and added a free-throw to score 10 points. Ren Fonnesbeck joined the three-point party and made two more off his own in the second period and Wyatt Roholt had four points to help Bear River ring-up 22 points in the quarter and outs-core Sky View by four. Half-time score: Bear River 36 Sky View 34.
The third quarter is where the game turned for the Bears. Despite their best efforts Sky View’s size started to take a toll. Sam Phipps at 6’6 and Mason Falslev at a long and athletic 6’4 started to control the boards and several offensive rebound put-backs in the quarter really hurt the Bears. Phipps totaled 12 points in the quarter, many coming off of the offensive glass and Falslev added four. In addition Sky View switched from the zone defense they employed in the first half to an aggressive man to man defense which limited the Bears looks at the three-point shot that they thrived on in the first half, making nine. Sky View out-scored the Bears by 8 in the 3rd and decisive quarter.
Despite being down 6 to start the 4th and final quarter the Bear River boys never quit. Quitting is not in the Bear’s vocabulary nor is it in the heart of character of these boys. They gave all they had and at the 6:00 minute mark of the 4th quarter they fought to tie the game at 55 and the game was on. Unfortunately down the stretch the Bears could not quite get the lead. It has been Bear River’s DNA to get a late lead, spread the floor and use their speed, quickness, passing and superior ball-handling to get easy lay-ups and get to the foul-line to ice the game away. In this game the lead never came and the spread offense could never come in to play. Sky View did a great job of maintaining a 2 to 4 point lead to the final buzzer and holding off the upset-minded Bears.
Despite finishing with the silver trophy instead of the gold, the Bears and their coaching staff could not be more proud of the season they had, the accomplishment achieved and the many great memories created this season. The Bear River boys made all of us proud to be a Bear as they represented themselves, their families, our school and community with class and dignity as they fought for victories this season. Despite being heavily out-sized throughout the season these Bears demonstrated on the floor that the size of the heart is truly what matters and the 2018-19 Bears had an ample supply of heart, courage and toughness and it led them to the State Championship game and into the hearts of all of those that had the privilege to witness this special team. Go Bears!