The game will be played at Butte College in Oroville at 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast online by NFHS Network
Friday afternoon’s Northern Section Division 5 championship game features two teams that have a lot in common, based on numbers posted on maxpreps.com.
Top seed Mount Shasta brings a 25-3 record into the title game and went undefeated in the Shasta Cascade League.
No. 2 seed Colusa is 24-4 and went undefeated in the Sacramento Valley League.
Mount Shasta averaged 69 points per game, while allowing 45. Colusa averaged 66 points per game, while allowing 48.
The championship game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Butte College in Oroville. It is scheduled to be broadcast live by the NFHS Network online at: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/cifns/gam3346aca5d6?maxpreps=desktop_next_game_box_teamschedule
The Bears started slow in what became a big 86-59 semifinal win over Trinity Wednesday night in Mount Shasta, but coach Cliff Blakely said he was confident they were ready to play.
“I knew they weren’t that nervous,” Blakely said. “They were like wild men before the game. It was our gym against a league team; what’s there to be nervous about? They were playing without pressure.”
Blakely called a time out when the Bears fell behind 12-4 in the first quarter. He said they made some defensive changes and started running a motion offense after that. “We got more aggressive,” he said.
It worked. The Bears led 21-14 by the end of the first quarter and 27-15 with 6:30 to play in the second quarter after the Riccomini brothers, Kaden and Kole, scored on a back-to-back lay-ins.
Trinity, a team that defeated the Bears in section semifinal games in Mount Shasta twice in the previous three years, rallied late in the second quarter and cut the lead to 36-29.
The Bears stretched the lead in the third quarter, then Kole Riccomini made a steal and drove for a lay-in and hit a three-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to make it 60-42.
Early in the fourth quarter, Kaden and Kole made long drives for lay-ins to boost the lead to 66-42.
Victory was never in doubt after that, and the starters were on the bench going wild in the closing minutes as Gavin Paisley made a three-pointer and Joseph Summers and Kyle Handshy both made baskets.
Kaden Riccomini led the Bears with 31 points, Kole scored 21, Kody Bauman 9, Anthony Gore 8, Nolan Johnson 4, Ronnie Knight 4, and Tristan Ellerbe 2.
Johnson, Ellerbe and Dillon Ward all helped give the Bears a boost after their slow start.
Blakely said Ward was especially effective on defense when he came in, and Kole Riccomini, Gore and Johnson helped put pressure on Trinity ball handlers on the perimeter.
“There’s still work to be done,” Blakely said after the game, during an interview that was conducted between numerous congratulations in the hallway outside the gymnasium.
While the Bears were defeating Trinity, Colusa was getting by No. 3 seed Durham, 62-57.
Colusa’s 6-foot-8 senior Taylor Gerard scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds in that semifinal, and 6-5 senior Will Kalisuch scored 10 points.
Another senior, Gerry Moreno, led Colusa with 16 points, while juniors Conner Saso (13 points) and Blake Steidlmayer (12 points) also scored in double figures.
The Bears have some height, too, with Bauman at 6-6, Knight at 6-4, Ward 6-3, and many of the other regulars between 6-foot and 6-2.
Mount Shasta and Colusa faced three common opponents during the season and won all those games.
Mount Shasta won at East Nicolaus, 76-37, on Dec. 19, and Colusa won at East Nicolaus two days later, 69-58.
The Bears won at East Nicolaus again in late December, 78-58.
Colusa defeated Sutter on Dec. 19 in Colusa, 66-47, and the Bears defeated Sutter Dec. 27 at the Lindhurst tournament, 78-27.
Mount Shasta won its playoff opener 60-48 over Williams, a team Colusa defeated twice in the preseason, 71-62 at Williams and 64-51 at Colusa.
While the four other teams that play with Colusa in the SVL are all larger Division 4 schools, none of them had a winning record this season. Pierce was 13-13, Live Oak 12-12, Winters 8-16, and Willows 1-23.
Live Oak and Pierce both won first round games in the Division 4 playoffs before losing in the quarterfinals.
Mount Shasta plays in an SCL that includes Division 5 and smaller Division 6 schools, but it was a strong league this winter, and the Bears finished the regular season with the toughest strength of schedule based on the Northern Section Playoff Points List.
The Bears had to defeat SCL foe Trinity in the Division 5 semifinal round, while two SCL teams, including Weed, reached the semifinals in Division 6, and Fall River is scheduled to play Redding Christian Saturday in the D6 championship game.
Two of Colusa’s losses were to Gridley and Corning, the two teams playing in the Division 4 championship game later in the day Friday at Butte College.