With a 9-1 league record, Mount Shasta can clinch at least a share of a second league championship in a row by winning Friday night’s final regular season home game against Modoc (2-7). Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The Mount Shasta Bears took another step toward a second consecutive Shasta Cascade League championship with a 68-25 romp Tuesday night in Burney that didn’t take a lot out of them.
With a 9-1 league record, Mount Shasta can clinch at least a share of the title by winning Friday night’s final regular season home game against Modoc (2-7). Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The two teams just below the Bears in the SCL standings, Fall River and Trinity (both 7-2), are scheduled to face each other tonight in Weaverville.
Cesar Gonzalez scored 19 points at Burney and Sean Micklos made several 3-point baskets and finished with 13.
Preston Blakely scored 12, John Clemens 8, Mason Brooks 6, Petr Krejcar 4, Garrett Bryan 4 and Zach Cardoza 2.
Ranked No. 1 on the Northern Section Division 5 playoff points list that came out this week, the Bears (18-6 overall) are scheduled to finish league at Etna next Friday, Feb. 20, a day before the playoff seeding committee meeting.
Burney has yet to win a league game, Modoc is 2-7, Etna 5-5.
The Bears went 11-1 in league and 24-4 overall last year. They were the Division 5 runners-up after losing the to Liberty Christian in the championship game. Liberty has moved down to Division 6 this season.
If the Bears get one of this year’s top two postseason seeds, they’ll be in position to host all the games they play in the first three rounds, scheduled for Feb. 25 and 27 and March 4.
Coach Cliff Blakely pointed out there’s a good chance the Bears and some other Division 5 teams will have first round byes for the 16-team playoff bracket. There are only 17 Division 5 teams in the section, and some have won very few games.
The championship game will be held at a neutral site.
A challenging pre-league schedule has paid off in more ways than one for the Bears.
They’re ranked first in strength of schedule, which is one of three categories used to calculate playoff points.
Blakely said the Bears are “battle-tested” because of the experience they got playing larger schools in the pre-season. “Hopefully that will help us get where we want to be,” he said. “Our first goal is to win league, then section.”
In the other two playoff points categories, Mount Shasta was tied for first for in-division record (10-1) and third in overall record.
Hamilton (17-4 overall) and Williams (13-2) were tied for second on the playoff points list, followed by Quincy (15-7), Colusa (13-9), Trinity (12-7), Portola (10-7) and Weed (13-10).
Etna (10-14) was ranked 11th and Modoc (5-13) 13th.
Fall River is ranked No. 1 in Division 6, ahead of Paradise Adventist and Liberty Christian.
Mount Shasta won narrow victories over Quincy (60-56) and Hamilton (46-44) in back-to-back games at Hamilton’s Marty Passaglia Tournament in December.
“I’m sure a lot has changed since then,” Blakely said. “It’s hard to say what they’re like now.”
He said the Bears are playing better together now than they were a couple months ago and playing with more patience.”
They’ve won 9 straight in league since losing their SCL opener at Trinity in early January, 47-41. They evened the score with Trinity Jan. 30 in Mount Shasta, 53-45.
The Bears are the only team so far this season to defeat Fall River, which takes a 22-2 overall record into tonight’s game at Trinity.
Modoc gave the Bears a scare when they played Jan. 20 in Alturas. The Bears led by as many as 22 points in the third quarter but ended up needing to make three free throws in the last 3.4 seconds for a 67-64 win.
Blakely said Modoc rallied that night after he made multiple substitutions, and it was hard to stop their momentum when he put the starters back in.
So far, Modoc’s only two league wins have been against Burney.