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The Bears hosted the George Washington High School Eagles from San Francisco in the first round of the Northern California Division One girls basketball tournament on Wednesday, March 8th. M-A defeated the Eagles 56-44 in an exciting game.

The Bears started out the game on fire, going on a 7-0 run. Unfortunately, the Eagles answered the Bears with two straight three-point shots to make it a one-point ball game. The Bears went on another 8-0 run to lead 15-6. The first quarter concluded with M-A leading 19-10.

The Bears continued where they left off in the second quarter, hitting some key threes early on. The Bears fought hard on every possession during the second quarter, grabbing countless steals and offensive boards. The Eagles remained in reach, hitting several key threes of their own. The buzzer sounded at the end of the half with the Bears leading 30-22. Sophomore Greer Hoyem led the Bears with 11 points in the first half alone.

The Bears came out a little slow during the third quarter. Half way through the third, senior Annalisa Crowe came off the bench for the Bears and hit two back-to-back threes, allowing M-A a comfortable lead. Crowe’s energy boosted the Bears, sparking sophomore Carly McLanahan’s pair of steals. The Bears continued this momentum to create a healthy 44-28 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Bears continued their dominance early in the fourth, going on a 9-3 run for a 19 point lead. The Bears executed their usual inside-out playing style perfectly. The Bears passed the ball into the post then waited for the defense to rush to the post before dishing it back to the perimeter, creating open three point opportunities. However, the Eagles countered the Bears efforts with a 9-2 run half way through the quarter. The Bears held their lead, knocking down vital free throws to keep their lead 56-44 as the final buzzer sounded. Hoyem led all scorers with 22 points.

Junior guard Ilana Baer explained, “We really wanted to make it farther than we did last year because we had a pretty heartbreaking last game last year.” The Bears fell during the first round of NorCals after Baer’s older sister, Naomi Baer tore her ACL with minutes remaining in the game. On Wednesday, “Everyone got in and contributed, which is really great. We’re just trying to focus on one game at a time. Overall I am just really proud of the team and how far we’ve come this season.”

Be sure to support the Bears as they host fifth seed Heritage High School in the second round of NorCals this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at Ayers Gym. #beardown

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