The Weed High School boys basketball team defeated the Dunsmuir Tigers 85-51 in a game played in Dunsmuir last Friday night which concluded the varsity basketball pre-season. Cougar forward Robert Gonzales lead the victors with 22 points while the 6’5” forward Robert West was close, adding 19 points in the Cougar win.
Tanner Shelton hit 13 points to round out the double point shooters. Guards Brandon Ede and Liam Hagarty each scored eight points. But before the clock ran out all Cougars had scored at least once. The win leaves the Cougars with a 9-2 preseason record.
The Cougars had the game well in hand at the end of the first quarter by building a 26-9 lead and then took a 50-31 advantage to the locker room at the half. Cougar coach Mike Carpine was happy with the win and his team’s preseason showing but he is now thinking ahead toward regular season play and the playoffs beyond that.
“I am pleased with our play in the Dunsmuir game. But we have two weeks off and it will be like starting all over again. We would like to keep our edge,” he said.
The Weed Cougars have pretty much been a road team this season because of their tournament schedule but begin a two-game home stand on Tuesday Jan. 5 with a critical league opener against league leading Trinity (6-1). Fall River (9-2) visits on Friday Jan 8. Fall River  and Weed have identical records coming out of pre-season. The Cougars will rely on their three seniors – Shelton, West and Gonzales – to carry a lot of the scoring burden but Carpine also likes the kids who came up to the varsity team this year from the championship JV team from last year.
The varsity boys will be tested right off against the two visiting teams early next month. Fall River has a 6’8’’ player they will have to face and Trinity figures to give the home team a tough time. Except for the struggling Etna and Modoc teams the rest of the league will be competitive, Carpine said, but cautioned, “Every team is out to get you and the size of the school or their record doesn’t matter.”
When practice begins in earnest next week Carpine will focus on defense and having his players work on those skills and feels the team has pretty good shooting skills. “ We need to work at keeping in shape after the break,” he said.
Not to be overlooked are the tough competitors from Mount Shasta. Despite their preseason record (5-5) the Bears have a strong team and Carpine knows it.  “They played some tough teams this year and are sure to be in the thick of it this season,” he said.
With  12 players this year rather then the eight he had last year the Cougar boys head coach knows that will help their chances. “We just want to hold everyone under 50 points this year and finish well in league,” he said.
The game against Big Valley last week (Dec.16) was cancelled due to schedule conflict.