Seeded No. 5 in Division 5, Mount Shasta takes a 14-11 record into Tuesday night's postseason opener against No. 12 CORE Butte of Chico. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Mount Shasta High School girls basketball team finished its regular season on a roll and is scheduled to host a first round Northern Section Division 5 playoff game tonight at 7 p.m.
Seeded No. 5, Mount Shasta takes a 14-11 record into the postseason to face No. 12 CORE Butte of Chico (11-10).
With a first round win, Mount Shasta would play either No. 4 Quincy (20-4) or No. 13 Los Molinos (7-13) Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the home of the higher seed.
Girls semifinal games are scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, at 7 p.m., also at the home of the higher seed.
The girls Division 5 section championship game is scheduled for Friday, March 6, at 6 p.m. at Butte College in Oroville.
Shasta Cascade League champion Weed (21-5) is seeded No. 2 and Etna (18-8), the team the Bears defeated 51-31 Friday night in Etna, is No. 3.
They both have a first round bye, as does the No. 1 seed, defending champion Durham (20-3).
Mount Shasta coach Kirk Andrus said his team went to Etna “ready to take care of business” Friday night.
The Bears went into the game ranked 6th in the section, and they expected their position in the postseason bracket would have them going back to Etna a week later.
“Our purpose was to play well, and we exceeded that by quite a bit, despite being in foul trouble,” Andrus said.
As it turned out, the Bears got the No. 5 seed and are in the opposite half of the bracket from both Weed and Etna.
By finishing the regular season with three wins in a row, the Bears tied for third place in the SCL with Fall River at 7-5. Fall River (19-7) is the No. 1 seed in Division 6.
Andrus said his players “were definitely ready to play” Friday night and are “experiencing a lot of joy playing basketball together.”
One of the keys to the victory was their defense in the post against Etna senior Hannah Little. She had scored 27 points Jan. 27 when the Lions beat the Bears, 50-40, in Mount Shasta.
But Friday in Etna, Andrus said Sophia Ackerman-Mero, Abby Manley, Ashley Cain and Emily Andrus all helped limit Little to just 8 points.
Ackerman-Mero “was exceptional,” according to the coach, who said, “The kids really executed our defensive game plan.”
The Bears had 17 steals, 5 by Manley, 4 by Madeleine Moyer, and 3 by Kacey Cain.
Ashley Cain was one of the Bears who spent a bit of time on the bench because of foul trouble. “She picked up two fouls in the first 45 seconds of the game,” Andrus said, “and we had three players with 10 fouls on the bench to start the start second half.”
Moyer (17 points) and Kacey Cain (13) combined to score 30 of the Bears’ 51 points.
Mount Shasta’s 12-5 lead after one quarter shrunk to a single point, 20-19, at half time. Then the Bears took control with a 16-3 run in the third quarter on the way to outscoring the Lions 31-12 in the second half.
Andrus said the offense started clicking after Moyer and Kaycee Sarti both made a pair of 3-point baskets.
Sarti finished with 8 points, Ashley Cain 6, Emily Andrus 5, and Ackerman-Mero 2.
Manley and Moyer had 8 rebounds each, and Kacey Cain, Mary Taylor, Ashley Cain, Ackerman-Mero and Andrus had 3 each.
“We have an enthusiastic and spirited team right now,” Andrus said over the weekend. “The girls are hitting their stride and having fun.”
He said they’ve been looking forward to a rematch with Quincy, a team they fell to, 46-36, at Hamilton’s tournament in mid-December.
“We want to play Weed (in the championship game), which means going through Durham,” Andrus said.
Durham stopped the Bears in a volleyball playoff semifinal last November and went on to win the section.
Durham has also won the last two section basketball championships in a row.
“We just want to do our best,” said Andrus. “Hopefully, this is the start of a great adventure."
CORE Butte is a K-12 charter school in Chico that finished third in the Pioneer-Mountain League with a 4-4 record, behind co-champions Loyalton and Westwood, two of the top Division 6 teams.
CORE Butte tied for the worst strength of schedule in Division 5, while the only team better than Mount Shasta in strength of schedule points was Durham.