Blown out at Eagle Point in Oregon a year ago, the Cougar varsity teams both stayed close until the end in their final 2013-14 pre-league games Jan. 2.
Weed High School's boys and girls basketball teams both lost to Eagle Point Thursday night in Weed, but both succeeding in taking an upper division foe to the wire.
Weed, a school of fewer than 200 students, got blown out a year ago at Eagle Point, whose enrollment is about 1,200.
The Cougar varsity boys lost at Eagle Point last year, 66-29. Thursday in Weed, the Cougars trailed by one point with 1:29 to play before losing 60-54.
Weed's varsity girls, after a 63-35 loss at Eagle Point last year, took the Eagles to overtime Thursday night before losing 58-55. Inbounding the ball from Eagle Point's end of the court with just :02 left in the first overtime, the Lady Cougars were able to get off a shot at the buzzer from just outside the three-point line.
It missed, but Weed head coach Bob West said, "If we play like that in league, we'll be all right. We hate to lose, but we got better tonight; we executed better what we wanted to do.
Jillian Neel led the Cougars with 19 points, making 3 three-point shots and all 4 of her free throw attempts.
Destinee Jones scored 13 and Elyssa Fisher 12. Fisher's third three-pointer of the game tied the score at 49-49 in the closing seconds of regulation.
Sophomore Angel Whatley made a pair of putbacks for her 4 points, Tia Palangvanh scored 3, McKenna Crabill 2 and Marielle Schnack 2.
Eagle Point sophomore Adrienne Wood (No. 13) led all scorers with 25 points. She made 4 three-pointers in a row in the third quarter and 7 in the game. She then fouled out early in the overtime.
Eagle Point senior post Kinsey Bradshaw (No. 33), the tallest player on the floor, scored 6 of the Eagles' nine points in overtime and finished with 20.
Cougar fans didn't like it late in the overtime when an official granted a timeout request from the Eagle Point bench while Jones was being fouled as she tried to get control of a loose ball on a steal attempt. Eagle Point's Kayla Nielsen then made a three-pointer to break a 55-55 tie with 2 seconds to play.
The Lady Cougars finished their pre-season schedule with a 9-5 record. They went 4-5 against upper division teams.
The Weed boys' loss to Eagle Point was only their second of the season, alongside 11 victories.
"I'm not happy about losing, but I'm not disappointed," Weed coach Mike Carpine said after the game. "We handled their press and did a good job coming back every time they started to pull away. I'm happy with the way we played. Hopefully we can carry that over going into league."
Leading scorer Edgar Casorla, his jaw swollen because of an abscessed tooth, was off his game early, but got on track in the second half and finished with a team-high 17 points.
He and Rashaan Broomfield sparked a Cougar rally after Eagle Point scored the final 6 points of the third quarter to open a 43-35 lead.
After Broomfield buried a three-pointer, Casorla made a steal and drove for a lay-in; then Casorla hit a baseline jumper, and Broomfield made a pair of free throws to tie the score at 46 with 5 minutes left.
A Broomfield lay-in off a long inbounds pass from Aidan Hagarty and two free throws by Trevor Shaffer put Weed on top momentarily, 50-49.
The Cougars were still within a point at 55-54, but they went scoreless during the final 1:29.
Shaffer was 8 for 10 from the free throw line and finished with 10 points. Broomfield scored 9, Jordan DeBortoli 8, and Hagarty 3.
Carlos Sanchez came off the bench to score 5 of the Cougars' 9 first quarter points, and Max Michelon came off the bench to hit a long field goal just before the first half ended.
Eagle Point's Cesar Chavez (No. 15) led all scorers with 24 points, 17 of them in the second half. He was 10 for 12 from the free throw line, and the Eagles as a team were 14 for 17.
Jorge Quintero (No. 5) scored Eagle Point's final 5 points and finished with 12.
The Cougars were 19 for 30 on free throws for the game.
Weed's JV boys, playing their first game without former starting point guard Dalton Davis, lost to Eagle Point, 67-46.
Ss'ven Walker led the JV Cougars with 24 points. He was 10 for 14 from the free throw line and "played his heart out," according to coach Bob Zalunardo.
Blake Lane scored 7, Nick Bergquist 4, and Amari Traylor, returning to action after an ankle injury, scored 4.
Colton Cheffey had 2 points and 8 rebounds; Alex Pappas had 6 rebounds.
Zalunardo said Eagle Point "was the best team we'll play all year." He said Davis moved away during the holiday break to be with family in Georgia.
The JV Cougars finished the pre-season with a 10-2 record.