Each player knew that she'd have to avoid fouling out and would have to play through the injury. Despite executing a shut-down defense on the stunned Mountain Lions, the Eagles committed only 10 fouls in the game with no one having more than three.
Things looked bleak for the College of the Siskiyous Eagle women’s basketball fans when they noticed their team had only five remaining members last Wednesday night as they faced a 13-woman De Anza squad that won the Coast-South Conference.
Then, like the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that upset the Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice”, the Eagle women, each playing the entire game, performed the “Miracle On the Hardwood” and routed De Anza College 84-59 in Weed in a first-round playoff contest. COS was the No. 16 seed, while De Anza was the No. 17 seed.
Each player knew that she’d have to avoid fouling out and would have to play through the injury. Despite executing a shut-down defense on the stunned Mountain Lions, the Eagles committed only 10 fouls in the game with no one having more than three.
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 21-8 lead after a quarter as everyone scored. Faith Tracy got the Eagles off to a flying start, hitting a couple of threes and scoring eight points.
De Anza’s coach employed a full-court press hoping to tire out the Eagles and force turnovers. But each COS player can handle the ball, and they easily got the ball into the frontcourt with Lynden Harry and Lily Hitchcock doing the bulk of the work. Even when De Anza trapped, the Eagle ball-handler found Tracy or Ashley Cox lingering at the half-court line.
COS exploded for 27 points in the second quarter to grab a 20-point lead at halftime. Hitchcock, a Mount Shasta High grad, playing what coach Tom Powers said was “her best game of the year,” hit four 3-pointers in the quarter. Her most dramatic trey came with less than a second left in the half.
Their 20-point lead would usually be seen as insurmountable, but as De Anza continued pressing, sending in wave after wave of fresh players, fans had to wonder if fatigue would stifle the Eagles.
Outscoring the Mountain Lions 20-12 in the third quarter put that fear to rest. Hitchcock knocked down three more three-pointers, and Cox, another Eagle rising to the occasion with a career night, scored seven points as COS led 68-40 after three quarters.
Even as fatigue finally set in, De Anza could only shave three- points off the Eagle lead. With tired legs, COS missed all three free throws in the last quarter, but each player put up points and the final result was never in question.
Both COS Athletic Director Dennis Roberts and Powers agreed that it was the grittiest win ever seen in the COS gym. Especially stout-hearted was Cox, they said.
She missed some late-season games with a concussion and mouth injuries. Then she took an inadvertent hand to the face in the third quarter and needed a trainer to stanch the bleeding from her nose before the refs forced her off the floor.
Cox was attended to while De Anza shot a couple of free throws and she finished the game, scoring a season-high 20 points and grabbing a ton of rebounds.
Hitchcock led the Eagles with 29 points, Faith Tracy hit two treys and scored 18 points, Harry had 12 points, and Masey Williams filled in ably, scoring six points.
With the win, the Eagles earned the right to face the number-one ranked team in California, the 27-1 San Joaquin Delta Mustangs that Saturday.. Coach Powers laughed when someone suggested that if the Eagles won that game, someone would make a movie about it.
Unfortunately, there was no storybook ending for the Lady Eagles Saturday night, as COS lost 82-44 to end the season 17-13 overall.