As often happens in this rivalry, victories were not easy to nail down when the College of the Siskiyous men’s and women’s basketball teams both defeated Shasta College Wednesday night in Weed.

The Eagle women started fast and led by as much as 32-15 in the first half, but Shasta got within two points late in the second half before Siskiyous put away an 82-75 win.

Siskiyous’ men also had to withstand a late Shasta rally, and the game wasn’t decided until the final buzzer sounded with the Eagles on top, 67-66.

“I’ll take it any way we can get it,” said men’s coach Kyle Heath, whose team improved to 2-2 in the Golden Valley Conference while Shasta fell to 1-3.

Heath praised his players for limiting Shasta to 66 points and admitted that he would have felt terrible if the two points Shasta scored on his technical foul late in the game had come back to haunt the Eagles.

“We’re still alive,” Heath said of the Eagles’ GVC title hopes. “We did what we’re supposed to do and held home court.”

With key starter Drew McNabb out, sophomore point guard Al Marsh rose to the occasion. He made 4 three-pointers and finished with 27.

“We needed it,” Marsh said. “Our backs were against the wall. We had two new guys in the lineup; somebody had to step up. Me being a sophomore, I?had to do it.”

Sophomore Luke Cassedy scored 16, which was a bit below the 29 points per game he averaged in the first three GVC games. But the two huge points he scored on a short baseline jumper after a drive from the top of the key in the closing seconds were huge, giving the Eagles a 66-63 lead.

Siskiyous then stole the inbounds pass, Ronnie Fields got fouled and made 1 of 2 free throw attempts with just 5.5 seconds on the clock.

That extra point was critical because Shasta sophomore guard Paolo Mancasola hit a three-pointer with just 0.9 remaining.

Mancasola and Cassedy were high school teammates for three years at Central Valley High in Shasta Lake City, and Mancasola guarded Cassedy Wednesday night.

He was one of two Knights who tried to stop Cassedy’s late drive to the hoop after the Eagles ran the shot clock down to 10 seconds.

“Coach told me to run Mendo,” Cassedy said. “That’s one-on-one. Someone’s gotta make plays down the stretch.”

Cassedy said he chose Siskiyous over Shasta after high school because he liked the idea of playing for a program that was starting over.

“It feels good,” he said of beating Shasta.

Eagle women improve to 3-1 in GVC

The Eagle women improved to 3-1 in conference and kept themselves in the thick of the GVC race, while Shasta fell to 2-2.

Siskiyous couldn’t miss early in the game and finished the first half with a 46-34 lead thanks to 8 for 13 shooting from three-point range.

After Shasta cut the lead to two points with about 3 minutes to play, freshman Lauryn Lesina hit her sixth three-pointer of the game and sophomore Natalie Smith went 4 for 4 from the free throw line.

Lesina finished with 20 points and Michelle Hoehn scored 14 for the Eagles.

Ravien Lawson scored 18 to lead the Knights, who are again coached by Jerry Brown, the Mount Shasta High School graduate and former Mount Shasta girls coach now in his 20th season at Shasta College.

That’s not quite as long as Siskiyous women’s coach Tom Powers has been coaching Eagle teams. Powers started as the men’s coach in 1983, then coached both the men’s and women’s basketball teams for a while, and now coaches both the women’s basketball and volleyball teams.