BEARS WIN CLOSE GAME AT BRET HARTE

February 02, 2003 11:00 pm

By KEVIN SAULS

ANGELS CAMP — A fourth-quarter surge put Summerville High School in position to win, and a kind bounce enabled the Bears to hang on for a 67-63 Mother Lode League boys' basketball victory over Bret Harte on Friday night in Angels Camp.

The Bears (15-6, 3-1 MLL) now gear for their biggest game so far, a road date Tuesday night in Sutter Creek against first-place and defending champion Amador (13-5, 4-0).

Summerville led Bret Harte (9-12, 1-3) most of the way, including by nine points early in the second half, but found itself trailing the upset-minded Bullfrogs 51-49 with 5:41 to play. The Bears responded emphatically with a 10-0 run that began on a Joe Sanders bucket with 5:25 left and ended on a Jake Heldstab free throw at the 2:59 mark for a 59-51 lead. In between, Quint Gerber scored inside off a Sanders feed, and Cody Munsel scored on a putback and a 3-pointer.

The Bears' advantage grew to 10 points, 63-53, when Heldstab scored again and Sanders made two free throws with 2:09 remaining, and they led 65-56 at 1:52 left when Adam Artzer finished a Munsel pass with a midair catch and layup.

But then it was Bret Harte's turn to surge, and the Bullfrogs closed to within 65-63 on a bucket by Travis Emerson, three foul shots by Scott Russell and a bank shot by Anthony Bennett with 27 seconds left.

After Artzer missed a free throw at the 19-second mark, Bret Harte had a chance to tie the game or win it. The Bullfrogs went for the win with guard Aaron Elevi, who had made five 3-pointers, but his trey from the right wing went in and out.

Every heart in the gym likely skipped a beat when Emerson rebounded in the middle of the key and went up with overtime only a few feet away, but his follow-up shot fell short.

Summerville coach Marlen Ronten admitted after the game to being a bit shaken as the Elevi-Emerson scene unfolded, in large part because he didn't think it should have come down to that.

"We were supposed to get the ball to Quint and Joe (in the last minute or so) because they're our best free-throw shooters, but we had some trouble handling

the ball," Ronten said.