Making 13 of 15 free throws in the final quarter, No. 3 Bradshaw Christian defeated top-seeded Bear River 50-40 in today's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV girls basketball championship game at Sleep Train Arena in a matchup of two of the section's most successful programs.
Sophomore Erika Bean had 19 points and three steals; senior Ashlee Jones 18 points and seven rebounds; and sophomore Jordyn Bell nine points and 10 rebounds for Bradshaw Christian (27-2), a South Sacramento private school, playing its second season in D-IV.
Junior Kaitlyn Reina topped Bear River (26-4) with 19 points and nine rebounds, despite missing nearly six minutes in the second half with a right ankle injury.
The 5-foot-9 forward went out with her team leading 32-28 late in the third quarter. She returned midway in the fourth quarter, promptly hit a three-pointer to put her team up 39-38, then fouled out with 2:55 to play as Bradshaw Christian outscored Bear River 20-6 in the final quarter.
"Kaitlyn is a great competitor and the focal point of our team," said Bear River coach Jeff Bickmore. "She makes a big difference when she's out there."
For the 850-student public school in Lake of the Pines, it marked a 14th section title appearance. The Bruins have won 10 championships and have a lifetime playoff record of 65-14. They are third in the section in titles, third in wins and second in winning percentage.
The first in winning percentage is Bradshaw Christian, which has won five section titles (four previously in D-V from 2008 to 20011) in as many appearances and is 20-2 lifetime under coach Mike Ruble, who also heads the boys basketball team at the school.
"We're excited for our program...and I'm happy for my seniors for being around and putting up with me," Ruble said. "They're pretty strong young ladies."
Seniors Briana Barnes and Terisha Simmons combined for four points and 11 rebounds as the Bradshaw Christian starting five played all but eight minutes.
Both teams will move on to the CIF Northern California regional playoffs that start on Wednesday.