Monday, December 10, 2012


Bear River's boys basketball team has started the season with 5 consecutive preseason wins and the Bruins are the only team in the Pioneer Valley to do so.

Senior Justin Beskeen (6-foot-6) has been the clear standout and leader for Bear River's coach Duwaine Ganskie as he is averaging over 28 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. As a follower of the southern Nevada County team, I knew this would be the case.

In the spring of 2012 the Bruins graduated their two senior guards so this left a large hole as Michael Raigoza (5-foot-9) was the only returning guard who saw any significant playing time. Raigoza  is averaging 7 points per contest this year which is an improvement over his 1.6 points per game in his junior season. The real statistical improvement for the Bruin's point-guard is his 7.3 assists per game while only turning the ball over 2 times per contest as well as 14 steals.

The Bruins have a junior, Charlie Espinoza (6-foot-1), who has stepped up to fill the other guard position. He scored 10 points to got along with Beskeen's 34 in the team's 55-52 win over San Rafael High School which earned his team the championship trophy at the American Canyon Wolf Classic.

Bruin senior Tyler Hajewski (6-foot-2) forward fills the roll of scorer (7.3 ppg) rebounder (5.3 ppg) and 3-point shooter. He works hard and is often over-looked by opposing team which often gives him easy looks at the basket.

Senior center Nick Bachus (6-foot-8) allows the Bear River to move Beskeen out on the perimeter where at 6-foot-6 he can create a tough night for opposing 3-point shooters. He is much improved over his junior season and as the season plays on his length will cause a lot of problems for the Pioneer Valley Leagues big men.

While it is very early in the season to make predictions as to who will win the PVL, the Bruins could be in the conversation this season, but what I can see is the Bruins have a star in Beskeen, a disciplined point guard in Raigoza, two wings, Hajewski and Espinoza who do fill in where needed and a center, Bachus who has something you can not teach, a 6-foot-8 frame.

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