The Mount Shasta girls started fast but faded in the fourth quarter and fell to Durham, 62-45, in Saturday night’s Northern Section Division 5 championship game at Shasta College in Redding.
Junior Taryn Linares, who came off the bench to hit a couple clutch jump shots in the third quarter, received one of the game’s two Sportsmanship awards at the start of the post-game ceremony.
Attempting to defeat Durham for a second year in a row in the championship game, Mount Shasta opened with a 10-0 run highlighted by 3-point baskets by senior Emily Andrus and sophomore Lily Hitchcock.
Soon after that senior Kacey Cain, who was making things difficult for Durham’s offense, picked up her second personal foul and sat out the rest of the quarter.
Durham narrowed the gap to 14-10 at quarter’s end, and the Bears fell behind briefly in the second quarter. But after Andrus went to the bench with her third foul, Mount Shasta rallied to take a 24-22 lead into the half.
Hitchcock hit her third 3-pointer of the game in the final minute of the third quarter off a pass from Cain to tie the score at 37-37. But Durham finished the quarter with a basket and a 39-37 lead.
Things went south for the Bears in the final period, as Durham post player Lindsey Bryant scored 11 of her game-high 23 points, including a 3-pointer that gave the Trojans a 53-41 lead with 4:30 to play.
The Shasta Cascade League champion Bears battled to the end. After Andrus and senior post player Samantha Benedict fouled out, Cain scored the game’s final points on a put-back at the buzzer.
Hitchcock led the Bears with 15 points and Cain scored 10, Benedict 7, Andrus 7, Linares scored 4 and Skye Bernstein 2.
Two Durham senior guards joined Bryant, a junior, in double digits: Mackenzie Paddock scored 15 and Savannah Southam 14.
Both Durham (24-2) and Mount Shasta (24-5) now move on to the state Division 5 tournament.
As parent Shelley Burcell Cain wrote on her Facebook page after the game, “Win or lose, this is one of the finest group of young women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Athletic, intelligent, generous and accomplished. You’ve made all of us so proud and I hope you can appreciate all of the places your determination and spirit has taken you. These glory days are just stepping stones to all that awaits you. You are Champions in more ways than one.”