Holiday tourney freeze-out for Bears and Cougars on day one

Steve Gerace
Samantha Benedict's play in the post was a bright spot for the Mount Shasta High School girls, who lost their 2015 Holiday Tournament opener to Butte Valley, 50-44, Thursday, Dec. 10, in Novo Gymnasium. Benedict scored 18 of her team-high 25 points in the second half as the Bears rallied to get as close as 3 points.

The teams that are most familiar with the Mount Shasta High School gymnasium had a tough time on the opening day of the 2015 Holiday Tournament.

Host Mount Shasta’s boys and girls teams both lost Thursday, and so did the Weed Cougars.

The biggest surprise was the Mount Shasta girls’ 50-44 loss to Butte Valley.

Mount Shasta’s boys were as cold as a December day at 14,000 feet during a 49-29 loss to Hidden Valley of Grants Pass, Ore. in Thursday’s prime time game.

Weed’s girls opened the tournament with a 59-23 loss to Anderson, while the Cougar boys, two days after coming from behind to defeat Yreka in Yreka, lost to Yreka 49-30 in a Thursday afternoon game.

The first half was especially challenging for all four south county teams.

Mount Shasta’s girls fell behind Butte Valley 11-0 at the start and trailed 17-3 at the end of the first quarter and 29-14 at half time.

Mount Shasta’s boys trailed Hidden Valley 28-12 at half time and 39-15 after three quarters.

The Weed boys were down at the half 27-10, and the Cougar girls trailed Anderson 28-10 at half time and 50-15 after three quarters.

Junior post player Samantha Benedict provided some good news for the Bears. She scored 18 of her 25 points in the second half as Mount Shasta rallied to get within 3 points.

Kacey Cain added 9 points for the Bears.

Butte Valley, a team that has had plenty of small school success over the years under head coach Mike Cross, improved to 6-0 this season.

Kenzie Hayden-Criss (#12) made 10 of 12 free throws in the second half and led the Bulldogs with 26 points. Shaniya Britton (#30) scored 15.

Friday's Holiday schedule

Butte Valley advances in the Holiday girls winners’ bracket to face Yreka, which won a 46-44 thriller over Klamath Union of Klamath Falls with a late three-point shot. That game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday in Mount Shasta.

In other Holiday girls games Friday, Weed plays Etna at 10 a.m., Mount Shasta faces Klamath Union at 11:30 a.m., and first round winners Anderson and Lassen square off 3:30 p.m.

The boys Holiday games are pre-scheduled. On Friday, Mount Shasta faces Butte Valley at 8 p.m., Weed plays Hidden Valley at 5 p.m. and Klamath Union faces Yreka at 2 p.m.

A three-point contest is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Mount Shasta boys

Mount Shasta’s boys were stone cold Thursday night against Hidden Valley, although Preston Blakely found some touch in the fourth quarter when he scored 10 of his team-high 14 points.

Freshman Kaden Riccomini scored 6.

For Hidden Valley, which had only 3 reserve players on the bench, Dylan May (#32) scored 18 points and Daryn Kleynhans (#5) scored 10.

Weed Cougars

Two days after they rallied from a 32-19 half time deficit to defeat Yreka in Yreka, the Weed Cougars fell behind the Miners early and stayed behind during a 49-30 Holiday tourney loss.

Weed came from behind for a 60-56 win Tuesday night in Yreka, but the Cougar offense never caught fire after trailing 27-10 at the half Thursday.

The Cougars outscored the Miners 15-13 in the third quarter, then scored just 5 points to Yreka’s 9 in the final period.

Ss’ven Walker scored all 6 of Weed’s second quarter points and finished with a team-high 11. Blake Lane and Amari Traylor scored 5 each.

The Cougars are now 1-1 against the Miners and their former teammate Alex Pappas, who scored 7 points Thursday.

Pedro Patterson led Yreka with 11 points and Bryan Aldrete scored 6.

Sophomore Savanna Reynolds scored 6 of her team-high 8 points in the fourth quarter for the Weed girls, and junior Rachel Michelon scored 5.

Anderson was led by a pair of seniors, Kilee Hannan (#1), who scored 15 points, and Natalie Campos (#23), who made four 3-point shots and tallied 14.