A look back at Siskiyou County's 2020 in sports: Part 2

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News

Here’s part two of two on the year in sports in Siskiyou County, which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Legion baseball and flag football have seasons 

Kids played flag football under the lights at Diggle Field in Montague Thursday night, many in shorts and short sleeve shirts. The weather is expected to take a turn today, Nov. 6, 2020.

A few sports in Siskiyou County found a  way to play despite COVID-19 in 2020.

Un June, the two Siskiyou American Legion Post 122 baseball teams got back out on the diamond. Players came from throughout Siskiyou County with home games played this season at Hibbard Field in Yreka. They also traveled for tourney game such as up in Medford, Ore. Games began to be played in June and concluded in July.

At the second game of the year in Yreka, there were hand sanitizers in front of the stands and the condiments for the snack shack were protected. During the games, the umpire watched for strikeouts and balls behind the pitcher and not in their normal spot behind the catcher. Players also used hand sanitizer in the dugout.

The Siskiyous U19 and U17 teams consist of players from across Siskiyou County and from Fall River High School in McArthur. Players were excited to get out in front of their home crowd.

At a game in June, Scott Heringer watched his son Danny. The league has grown, whether from popularity or because it is one of the only activities available during the pandemic; last year 167 kids from throughout Siskiyou County took part. 

“It’s a huge increase for us,” Cox said. “Thankfully we have had a lot of help and support.” 

To keep the league low risk, spectators are encouraged to maintain social distance, teams were kept small and each team only uses their own ball. 

In Weed, the South Siskiyou Swim team in July hosted the EPAL/Scott Valley Sharks Swim Team at a meet in Weed . It was the first and only meet for both teams this season. A number of safety measures were in place, including having spectators watch from behind the fence at the pool while maintaining a safe social distance

The Etna Pal League also had a soccer league in Fort Jones.

The Siskiyou Golden Speedway in Yreka was  able to get in some races this year although a number if races were called off.

Legendary COS hoops coaches Tom Powers retires

In February, Tom Powers announced he was retiring as the Lady Eagles head women’s basketball coach after earning his 900th win earlier in the season.  Besides coaching hoops, he is the head volleyball coach, as well as a Physical Education – Kinesiology instructor.

“It’s been a great 38 years,” he said at the time.

He took the reins at COS in 1981 and led the women to a Golden Valley Conference title. He’d go on to win 17 more GVC championships.

Most recently he took the 2017 Eagle women to the Community College state championship game, and this season saw a streak of seven consecutive GVC titles come to an end.

Powers was the only still-active coach named to the California Community College Hall of Fame, and in 1999 he was selected the California Women’s Junior College coach of the year.

He made it to the state finals four times, most astoundingly in 2017 when COS, a school of about a thousand full-time students, beat East L.A. and Palomar, schools with 8,000 students, and lost in the finals to 10,500 student strong Mt. San Antonio College.

Longtime assistant coach Noelle Collier took over for Powers.

Memorable season for the Weed Cougars men’s basketball team

The Weed Cougars boys basketball team had a season for the ages during  the 2019-2020 season.

The Cougars, the No. 4 seed in the Northern Section D6 playoffs made it to the title game  on March 3. at Shasta College in  redding Versus No. 2 seed Fall River.

Down the entire game, the resilient Weed Cougars roared back to take the lead with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to win  49-47 to earn the school’s first Northern Section boys hoops title since 1989.

“It’s a dream come true,” Cougar senior Jivarqua Jordan-Foster said after the game. “We’ve all put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get here.”

While a top tier squad for a number of years since 1989, Weed lost on several occasions in the semifinals, including the past two seasons, unable to get over the hump until this year. This included last season, when many of this year’s players lost in the semifinals to Redding Christian, who they fell to in the semifinals the year before. Weed returned the favor this season to upset top seed Redding Christian  in the semifinals, 52-42.

“We played hard and battled every possession,” third-year Cougars head coach Robert West said after the game. “This is one team that doesn’t give up. We never hang our heads down when we’re down, and don’t give up until the scoreboard goes to zero to end the game.”

The victory was made even more special for coach West because right by his side on the bench was his grandfather, Mike Carpine, who is an assistant coach for the Cougars and the head boys junior varsity coach.

Carpine won four section titles as head coach of the Cougars in the 1980s, including the 1989 crown.“To have him next to me on the bench meant so much,” West said. 

Robert’s father, Bob, also coached the team for several years.

The Cougars were not done with the season and earned the No. 1 seed  in the CIF NorCal Division 6.

They earned two home wins before falling in the title game at ho,e to No. 2 seed Rippon  school on March 10,

The Cougars ended the season at 23-5 overall. 

“I’m proud of my team,” said coach Robert West after the game.

Strong season my the Mount Shasta boys hoops squad

The Mount Shasta boys varsity hoops squad kept on winning during the 2019-2020 season.

The Bears won the Northern Section Division 5 title for the third stright year, the year before the Bears, with a talented senior-laden squad, won the Shasta Cascade League, the NSCIF D5 section title, and the CIF Northern California Regional title.

Mount Shasta made it to the CIF D5 state title game, where they lost to D2 school Foothill of Bakersfield at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.  The Bears, the No. 3 seed, defeated the East Nicolaus Spartans, the No. 1 seed, 58-51 at Butte College in Oroville on Feb. 28.

Mount Shasta junior DJ Brown said after the game  that the squad believed in themselves and their teammates and were focused on the task at hand.

“We came out and played the way we were supposed to tonight,” Brown said after the game. “It means a lot to this entire team.”

Led by first-year head coach Chris Galarsa, who coached the junior varsity boys to a perfect league record last year, the Bears had lofty expectations to contend with. Mount Shasta started mainly this season with no starters returning and all but three players that played varsity last season. This was a young, talented and hungry group of players that featured a deep bench but lacked experience on the varsity level.

Despite starting the year 0-3 and hearing rumblings from naysayers, Galarsa said that the squad forged ahead, fully believing in themselves and the coaching staff.

“I’m just so proud of this team,” Galarsa said after the game  “These kids believed in each other. Every one of these kids worked hard and stepped up.”

The squad earned a berth in the CIF Northern California Championships and lost in the first round at Christopher High of Gilroy on March 3rd to end the season at MSHS is currently 19-10 for the year.

The Etna Lady Lions varsity girls basketball team had another strong season

Etna earned  the No. 3 seed in the Northern Section Division 6 

The downed Burney at home in a  first round match on March before losing to top seed Fall Rive on the road in the seminals. playoffs on Saturday. 

EHS ended the year 20--6 overall and went 7-3 in the Shasta Cascade League to place second behind Fall River, which went a perfect 10-0 in the SCL      

The year before. , the Lady Lions made it to the NSCIF D6 section title game, losing to Redding Christian and won the CIF State Northern California title in D6.

The Cougars were not done with the season and earned the No. 1 seed  in the CIF NorCal Division 6.

They earned two home wins before falling in the title game at ho,e to No. 2 seed Rippon  school on March 10,

The Cougars ended the season at 23-5 overall. 

“I’m proud of my team,” said coach Robert West after the game.

Etna earned  the No. 3 seed in the Northern Section Division 6 

The downed Burney at home in a  first round match on March before losing to top seed Fall Rive on the road in the seminals. playoffs on Saturday. 

EHS ended the year 20--6 overall and went 7-3 in the Shasta Cascade League to place second behind Fall River, which went a perfect 10-0 in the SCL      

The year before, the Lady Lions made it to the NSCIF D6 section title game, losing to Redding Christian and won the CIF State Northern California title in D6.