The Mount Shasta High School Bears are just a game away from the Regional Finals and two away from the CIF State Boys Basketball Division V Championships after downing Pierce on Thursday, 69-55. The Bears will face the Eastside College Prep Panthers of East Palo Alto tomorrow, March 3 in Mount Shasta at 6 p.m.

The crowd at Thursday night’s home state playoff game broke into a rousing rendition of Queen’s anthem “We Will Rock You” as the Bears rocked Pierce High School with a third quarter barrage of three-pointers and won 69-55.

Pierce put up a good fight, leading 16-15 after a quarter. The Bears trailed 16-9 when Jett Snure blocked a shot and then scored on a put-back to start a rally that carried Mt. Shasta to a narrow, 31-29 halftime lead.

That’s when the Bear shooters came alive. Tristan Ellerbe nailed 3 three-pointers and Kaden Riccomini hit 1 in the third quarter. Both scored 9 points as Mt. Shasta roared out to a 12-point lead.

Pierce hit a few late treys, but the Bears responded with a couple of threes of their own, and Kaden Riccomini put up nine points in the fourth quarter to hold Pierce at bay.

A good team takes what the opponent’s defense gives. When Pierce packed the paint to stymie Kole Riccomini’s slashes to the hoop, brother Kaden stepped up and hit 3 three-pointers and a bunch of mid-range jumpers for 33 points on the night.

Tristan Ellerbe had his second straight big game. He hit 4 treys, three of them in the third quarter to help the Bears break open a close contest. Ellerbe scored 14 points and played his usual tough defense.

Kole Riccomini, denied driving lanes, found open teammates and thwarted the Pierce defense with his flashy ball-handling. He scored 9 points.

The Bear big men played well. Kody Bauman put down a two-handed dunk, scored 6 points, and guarded the rim. Jett Snure scored 7 points and ignited an early Bear rally with a crowd-pleasing shot block.

The Bears face Eastside College Prep of Palo Alto Saturday night at 6:00 PM. The Panthers were West Bay League champs, had a 21-7 season record, and are the 4-seed in the Northern bracket of the state playoffs.

A win Saturday would put the Bears into the regional final at home Tuesday night. They are two wins away from a spot in the state division 5 finals.