Weed boys capture basketball section championship, look toward regional playoffs

Mike Chapman
Siskiyou Daily News

The Weed High School boys basketball team is the CIF Northern Section champion of Division VI.

The Cougars captured the title by edging Redding Christian 45-42 on Friday night on the road in Palo Cedro.

The gym was so packed with cheering Weed supporters that it felt like a home game for the players. At least two-thirds of the stands were filled with Cougars supporters.

Now the team awaits game pairings that were to be announced Sunday, Feb. 27, to find who it plays next for the Northern California regional playoffs.

There's even a chance Weed could face Redding Christian again, but this time the game would be in Weed.

Redding Christian head coach Todd Dwyer said eight teams usually advance to the NorCal regional games following the playoffs — two from the Northern Section, two from the North Coast and four from the Sacramento-San Joaquin area.

Weed players Julio Garcia (33) and Marcus Horton (23) celebrate with teammates after winning the NSCIF Division 6 section championship over Redding Christian 45-42 on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, in Palo Cedro.

With Weed (18-3, 9-1 Shasta-Cascade) the new No. 1 seed for Division VI, Weed head coach Robert West believes his Cougars might have a rematch with Redding Christian (23-2, 10-0 5-Star League) or face St. Bernard's.

"Those are the other two best teams," West said. "We went through this two years ago when we were the one-seed. This is familiar territory for us."

Cougars never let up

The Lions jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, but the Cougars stormed back for a 20-4 advantage early in the first period.

"We came out strong, got into some foul trouble — kind of hurt us," West said. "Redding Christian is a really good team. We know they're fundamentally sound on defense."

Weed's Marcus Horton (23) tries to get around a Redding Christian player on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, in Palo Cedro. The Weed High School boys basketball team won the Northern Section Division 6 championship over Redding Christian 45-42.

West said his team struggled a little bit as Redding Christian started to come back.

Redding Christian's Jaidan Piercey made a two-point field goal to tie the game 42-42 in the fourth quarter, but the Lions never managed to grab the lead.

West praised freshman Marcus Horton for his performance Friday night. It was only Horton's third game at the varsity level. Horton previously played on the junior varsity team.

"He came in as a freshman and made some really big plays for us," West said.

Horton said after the game his team "did really good."

"There were times when they (Redding Christian) would come back. I knew that if we kept working hard — working together — that we'd get it." 

Redding Christian coach Dwyer said the game was intense for both sides and acknowledged his team didn't start out very well.

"Our team certainly battled and played a very tough game," Dwyer said. "Weed is a good team and they made a few more plays than us at the end."

West said the team worked constantly all season.

"My team worked hard. They never gave up," he said.

Miners lose semi-final to U-Prep

Yreka's Slade Crawford goes up for a basket against U-Prep in the Division IV semi-final game on Feb. 22, 2022, in Redding. U-Prep won 63-57.

The U-Prep Panthers defeated the No. 4 Yreka Miners 63-57 in the Division IV semi-final on Feb. 22 in Redding.

The Miners kept the pressure on the Panthers for most of the game. Yreka led 23-16 after the first period and was still ahead 36-35 at the half. Yreka had a 49-42 lead after the third quarter, but was only able to score 8 points to U-Prep's 21 in the fourth quarter.

With No. 1 U-Prep trailing by seven points after the first quarter, Panthers coach Taylor Angley-Holman drew a technical foul for arguing with the officials.

Angley-Holman's moment of tension led to U-Prep playing with more aggression on defense in the second half.

Mike Chapman is an award-winning reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash. Support local journalism by subscribing today.