'Probably coldest night of the year': Weed boys fall to St. Bernard's in NorCal title game

Mike Chapman
Redding Record Searchlight

The Weed boys basketball team fell short Thursday night in the NorCal Division VI championship game as St. Bernard's of Eureka captured the title 48-34.

Weed had a hot first half and led 15-4 with less than 2 minutes left in the first period. The Cougars had a 19-10 lead after the first quarter and still led 29-22 at halftime.

Weed's Darius Smith, center, goes up with the ball in the NorCal Division VI championship game against St. Bernard's of Eureka on Thursday night, March 10, 2022, in Weed. St. Bernard's won 48-34.

But the Cougars lagged in the second half, scoring a total of 5 points to St. Bernard's 26. 

"Down the stretch, St. Bernard's executed better," Weed head coach Robert West said.

West said his players had trouble hitting their shots in the second half.

"Probably coldest night of the year but that's the way basketball goes sometimes," he said.

West told his players to focus on their strengths and was satisfied with the first half.

Weed's Brandon Cordes, left, goes up for a basket in the NorCal Division VI championship game against St. Bernard's of Eureka on Thursday night, March 10, 2022, in Weed. St. Bernard's won 48-34.

"I just told them to come out and focus on our effort, our intensity and our energy, and just try to execute. First half I felt like we executed pretty well," the coach said.

Weed ended the season 20-4 overall and 9-1 in the Shasta Cascade League.

"Our kids had just a phenomenal year," outgoing athletic director Steve Neel said. "It comes down to one game and they played their hearts out. It just didn't go our way."

"When you get to this final game, you know you have two really good teams. I don't think we played our best," Neel said.

Weed's Darius Smith, center, goes up with the ball in the NorCal Division VI championship game against St. Bernard's of Eureka on Thursday night, March 10, 2022, in Weed. St. Bernard's won 48-34.

Weed senior guard Darius Smith, a Mount Shasta transfer, said afterward the game was marked by high emotions.

"Tensions rose high," Smith said. "Overall it was a good game. We fell short at the end. I wasn't hoping for this outcome."

What already was a physical game got more physical with the score 40-31 in favor of the Crusaders and less than 2 minutes left in the game.

A skirmish broke out between a Weed player and a St. Bernard's player that resulted in the Weed player's ejection.

Both West and Neel said the outburst was out of character for their player.

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.

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.