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BASKETBALL

Stifling defense earns Mount Shasta boys a spot in section semifinals

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
The Mount Shasta Bears and their fans celebrate a 63-31 victory over Pierce in a Northern Section Division V quarterfinal playoff game Friday night, Feb. 22, 2013 in Mount Shasta.

A tenacious defense propelled Mount Shasta High School's boys basketball team to a 63-31 Division V quarterfinal victory over Pierce Friday night in Mount Shasta.

Mount Shasta guards Cesar Gonzalez, John Clemens, and Brandon Acord made it difficult for Pierce to get anything going on offense, especially in the second and third quarters.

Gonzalez scored several baskets off steals on his way to a game-high 17 points.

Clemens, a sophomore who moved up from the JV team late in the season, showed his athletic abilities during a 16-point performance.

Senior post player Kegan Snure sat out the first half, then scored 8 of his 10 points from underneath the basket in the third quarter.

Mount Shasta, the No. 4 seed in Division V, moves forward to play at No. 1 Liberty Christian Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Redding.

The other semifinal will pit No. 3 Weed at No. 2 Modoc.

Semifinal winners will play for the section championship Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m. at Chico State.

Mount Shasta coach Cliff Blakely said the Bears knew from scouting reports that Pierce's strength was its two post players, so "we pressured the heck out of their other three guys."

That led to one turnover after another as the Bears scored the first 15 points in the second quarter to build a 26-9 with a little over three minutes to play before the half.

Neither team did much scoring early in the third quarter, but then the Bears scored 20 points in a row to make it 52-18 after three quarters against a Pierce team that shared the Sacramento Valley League championship with Live Oak.

Clay Ferguson scored 6 points for the Bears, Dylan Padula 4, Acord 3, Logan Gress 3, Mark Bekstrom 2, and Chance Jackson 2.

Pierce's leading scorer was 6-foot senior Andy Corona, who finished with 12 points. Nobody else scored more than 6 for the visitors.

"The guys have come together the last two games," Blakely said.