BASKETBALL

Mount Shasta boys advance in Yreka tourney winners bracket

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Mason Brooks, one of only two returning players on the 2015-16 Mount Shasta High School varsity boys basketball team, clutches the ball during the Bears' season-opener at Lassen in Susanville Tuesday night, Dec. 1, 2015.

Mount Shasta High School’s boys basketball team defeated host Yreka, 75-59, Thursday night to advance in the winners bracket of the 61st annual Miner Invitational.

The Bears are scheduled to play St. Mary’s of Medford, Ore., Friday night at 8:30 p.m. in the YHS gymnasium. The winner of that game will advance to play for the tournament championship Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Mount Shasta opened its 2015-16 season with a 97-86 loss at Lassen in Susanville Dec. 1.

Much has changed this season for the two-time defending Shasta Cascade League Bears.

Their roster features 11 players ranging from returning league MVP Preston Blakely to freshmen Kaden Riccomini and Joseph Summers.

Coach Cliff Blakely said the Bears have speed and are quick learners, but it’s not a group that has played a lot together.

“We’ve got guys who are capable – good athletes and fast guards,” Blakely said.

Preston Blakely, a 6-foot senior point guard and wing, and 5-10 senior guard Mason Brooks are the only returning players from last year’s league championship team that went 11-1 in the SCL and 21-7 overall.

Junior Alex Urbano, a 5-10, 200 pound wing, practiced with the varsity last year but did not play.

Up from last year’s JV team are 5-10 junior guard Mason Fitzmorris, junior post Hunter Moyer (6-1, 220) and sophomore power forward Ernie Maumasi (5-10, 195).

The other five players on the roster are new to basketball at Mount Shasta High, including 5-11 junior forward Zach Summers, junior post Chris Lujano (6-0, 220), and sophomore post Brooks Pavlic (6-1, 220).

Freshman Kaden Riccomini is a 6-foot guard/wing who played on successful Sisson and AAU teams in the past, while 5-8 freshman wing Joseph Summers has less previous basketball experience but is athletic and coachable, according to coach Blakely.

Preston Blakely came up to varsity as a sophomore two seasons ago, then averaged 14 points and 4 to 5 rebounds per game last year. He was at his best when the Bears needed points in some key league games down the stretch.

Preston and Mason Brooks, a part-time player who got better as the season progressed last year, are the Bears’ captains.

“We need leadership from those two,” coach Blakely said.

Fitzmorris was a starting guard for last year’s JV team who played some with the varsity during spring ball.

Blakely said Pavlic, Maumasi and Moyer are all big and strong and capable of giving the Bears good play in the post.

Riccomini and Joseph Summers are members of a freshman class that has many good basketball players.

“Kaden is going to be a good ball player,” Blakely said. “Hopefully he’ll help us right away.”

JV coach Sean Harker has 15 players on his roster, even with two sophomores and two freshmen starting the season on the varsity.