Rolling thunder was heard in Arbuckle Friday night, not from the clouds but the high school gym. Pierce and Anderson boys ran the court like a force, crashing into one another.
Bears started off strong, which served them well, as they ended with a 55-39 win against the Cubs. Leading the charge for the Bears was Justin Mathews, precision passing as if the ball was magnetically charged, while Bear Luke Vorrheees was on top of the rebounds. Fouls were plentiful. There were 10 by the end of the first quarter alone.
Arbuckle fans made noise to throw Cub Christian Teague off his game, but Teague was so focused on the rim that he did not flinch, successfully scoring many times.
Pierce may have obtained the advantage quickly but the trick was maintaining it. Anderson picked it up in the third quarter with a tight zone defense. On the outside looking in, the Bears would pass around the outside of the key leading to an unlucky shot where the Cubs would rebound the ball and quickly transition into offense. An unexpected steal from Cub Carson Shaw led to a fast break and quick shot. Cub Cody Hooper grabbed the rebound for an easy putback. Undaunted, Anderson kept pushing the ball upcourt until the final buzzer, but unable to narrow the gap in the score.
Pierce coach Scott Burnum was happy with the success of the night but noted areas in need of improvement for the playoffs.
“Our defense played well” but Burnum also noted, “We don’t know who’s supposed to shoot the ball at the end of the game and when to shoot the ball when we’re winning. We were up, but then we just shot the ball too fast.”
Burnum said he is assured that his team will address those shortcomings in the upcoming practices.
Lightning may have a chance to strike twice. Another storm is forecasted for Wed. Feb. 20 at 7 PM when Pierce Bears play at home against Redding’s University Prep. ■