After a 52-17 Senior Night victory over Weed Friday, the Mt. Shasta girls basketball team was seeded No. 8 in a nine-team Northern Section Division 5 postseason bracket. The Bears are scheduled to host No. 9 Williams Tuesday at 7 p.m. The other seven teams have a first round bye.
Seniors Lily Hitchcock, Chanel Berg and Anna Taylor were recognized prior to tipoff Friday, but overall it’s a young Bears team that will open the playoffs on its home court.
With a roster that includes two freshmen, two sophomores, and two juniors, the Bears finished fifth in the Shasta Cascade League with a 4-6 record. They’re 10-16 overall, while Williams is 7-13 and went 0-9 in the Mid-Valley League.
To qualify for the playoffs, the SCL requires its teams to have a record of .500 or better in league, overall, or against teams in their own division. The Bears are 6-4 against other Division 5 teams.
Mt. Shasta coach Kirk Andrus his team “has made strides this season and is a much better team at home... We’re happy to have the season continue.”
The only common opponent for Mt. Shasta and Williams this season was East Nicolaus, a team the Bears defeated in their season-opener in late November 48-40. Williams went 0-3 against East Nicolaus, and the closest final score was 48-32.
The winner of Tuesday night’s game in Mt. Shasta will advance to play at No. 1 seed Biggs in the quarterfinal round Thursday. The undefeated Mountain Valley League champions, Biggs is 23-1 overall.
Other Division 5 quarterfinal games scheduled for Thursday are: No. 7 Trinity at No. 2 Hamilton, No. 6 Modoc at No. 3 Durham, and No. 5 East Nicolaus at No. 4 Portola.
Andrus said all three Mt. Shasta seniors played well on Senior Night. Chanel Berg and Anna Taylor made the Bears’ first two baskets, but Weed led at the end of the first quarter, 10-9.
Andrus said the Bears brought their energy level up after that, and they started playing well after junior McKenzie Lowry came off the bench and Lily Hitchcock hit the first of her 4 three-point baskets.
Hitchcock finished with 16 points and 6 assists and “played as well as she has in a long time,” according to the coach. “Her ankle is getting healthy. She attacked the basket and passed well.”
Freshman Asia Hendrix made a pair of three-pointers and scored 8 points, Taylor scored 7, junior Ashija Garner 6, sophomore Adrienne Andrus 5, and sophomore Yuki Cannon 4.
Tuesday of last week, the Bears lost to league champion Etna, 58-47.
“I thought we played well,” Kirk Andrus wrote of that game. “We dug ourselves a hole in the first and third quarters but then came back both times to make it a four point game.”
The Bears trailed 18-9 after one quarter, 24-20 at half time, and 40-34 after three quarters.
Andrus said the Lions lengthened their lead at the end when the Bears started fouling.
Cannon scored 20 points and Hitchcock 15.
“Etna had an overall edge in experience and are very versatile and talented,” according to Andrus.
Etna won the SCL with a 9-1 record, ahead of Fall River and Modoc, both at 6-4, and Trinity at 5-5.
The Bears split with both Trinity and Modoc in league and defeated Modoc in a preseason game.
Etna is the No. 2 seed and Fall River No. 4 in the Division 6 playoffs.