With an eye on the future, the Mount Shasta High School girls basketball team was totally in the here and now during Tuesday night’s 54-20 Division 5 playoff victory over visiting Williams, as the snow depth grew outside Robert E. Novo Gymnasium.

Tipoff was moved up an hour to 6 p.m. because of the storm, which gained strength during the evening and eventually deposited 2 to 3 feet of the white stuff in many area locations.

Seeded No. 8 in the nine-team NSCIF Division 5 bracket, Mt. Shasta hit Williams like an avalanche in the first half. The Bears led 14-3 after one quarter, then buried the Yellowjackets with a 19-0 run in the second quarter to take a 33-3 half time lead.

As Bears coach Kirk Andrus described it, Williams “shot almost exclusively three-pointers and made only one in the first half. They were better in the second half, but our man defense made it so they never got very many good looks.”

For all their youth – the Bears have played this season with a roster of two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors, and three seniors – it was Mt. Shasta’s most veteran player who shined brightest in the playoff spotlight.

Senior Lily Hitchcock, a varsity contributor as a freshman on Mt. Shasta’s 2016 section championship game, did what she can do so well: she put through 3 three-pointers in the first half, 5 in the game, and finished with 19 points.

The Bears improved their 2018-19 record to 11-16 with the win and, as Andrus said before the game, “earned the privilege” to play a Thursday night quarterfinal game at No. 1 Biggs (23-1).

More experience for the Bears who will be returning, most likely a final chance in their Bears basketball careers for Hitchcock, Anna Taylor and Chanel Berg to help pull off a major upset.

Against common opponents this year, Mount Shasta beat East Nicolaus in late November, 48-40, and Biggs beat East Nicolaus in early January, 51-27.

Biggs beat Modoc in early November, 67-41, while the Bears beat Modoc twice, 49-39 and 50-39, and lost to Modoc once, 46-33.

The Bears lost to Redding Christian in Mt. Shasta, 45-17, on Dec. 20, while Biggs defeated Redding Christian in Biggs two weeks later, 53-41.

Biggs is averaging 56 points scored per game to the Bears’ 41, and Biggs is averaging 33 points allowed per game to the Bears’ 44.