Bears, Cougars advance to section basketball playoffs

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Mount Shasta boys coach Cliff Blakely, photo left, talking to junior Nolan Johnson. Photo right, Weed varsity boys coach Robert West, left, talking to JV coach Jeffery Williams. The Bears and Cougars are both scheduled to open the Northern Section playoffs with home games, Weed on Tuesday, Feb. 20, and Mount Shasta on Friday, Feb. 23.

The boys and girls basketball teams from both Mount Shasta and Weed high schools are advancing to the Northern Section playoffs this week.

The Mount Shasta and Weed boys teams will both open with home games in their respective divisions.

Mount Shasta’s boys, after completing an undefeated league championship season with an 88-53 victory over Etna Friday night, are seeded No. 1 in Division 5 and have a first round bye. The Bears (23-3 overall) will host a quarterfinal game on Friday, Feb 23, against either No. 8 East Nicolaus (11-14) or No. 9 Williams (15-10).

The Weed Cougar boys are 12-10 overall after winning their final two regular season games last week and are seeded No. 5 in Division 6. They’re scheduled to open the playoffs at home Tuesday night, Feb. 20, against No. 12 Burney (5-16).

Mount Shasta’s girls (15-11) are the No. 6 seed in Division 5 and one of seven teams with a first round bye. They’re scheduled to play a quarterfinal game at Mountain Valley League co-champion Portola (19-7), the No. 3 seed, on Thursday, Feb. 22.

The Weed girls (8-15) are seeded No. 9 in Division 6 and will play one of two first round games at No. 8 Mercy of Red Bluff (13-10) on Wednesday night, Feb. 21. Weed was winless in a strong Shasta Cascade League after going 8-5 in the preseason.

Division 5 boys

Mount Shasta won its fourth Shasta Cascade League championship in the past five years under head coach Cliff Blakely. This was the first of those four championship seasons that ended with the Bears undefeated in league.

Mount Shasta is one of six Division 5 boys teams with first round playoff byes, including No. 2 Colusa (22-4), No. 3 Durham (18-7), No. 4 Quincy (16-9), No. 5 Trinity (17-9), and No. 6 Modoc (17-8).

Quarterfinal games on Feb. 23 include the Williams-East Nicolaus winner at Mount Shasta, Trinity at Quincy, Modoc at Durham, and the winner of No. 10 Hamilton at No. 7 Portola vs Colusa.

Semifinal games are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the home of the higher seeds, and the Division 5 boys section championship game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on March 2 at Butte College in Oroville.

With a win Friday night, the Bears would host either Trinity or Quincy in the semifinals.

The Bears have reached the semifinals five years in a row and are 1-4 in those games.

Colusa won the Sacramento Valley League championship with an 8-0 record; Durham won the Mid-Valley League with a 9-0 record; and Quincy went 6-1 to win the Mountain Valley League.

The Bears defeated Trinity and Modoc twice in league and defeated East Nicolaus twice in the preseason, 76-37, at East Nicolaus and 78-58 in the championship game of the Lindhurst tournament.

Division 6 boys

Weed lost two close games in league to Division 6 No. 2 seed Fall River, but the Cougars finished strong last week with home wins over Etna, 68-55, and Modoc, 68-49.

The Cougars will be opening the postseason against a familiar foe in Burney, a team they defeated twice in the preseason in Burney, 72-54 and 85-45.

With a playoff win at Burney, Weed would advance to play a quarterfinal game at No. 4 Loyalton (17-7), which went 6-0 to win the Pioneer-Mountain League championship. Unlike the SCL, which has five teams with overall records above .500, Loyalton is the only team in the Pioneer-Mountain League with a winning record.

Getting first round byes in Division 6 are No. 1 Redding Christian (24-2), No. 2 Fall River (18-7), No. 3 Los Molinos (15-9), and Loyalton.

Other first round games on Tuesday are: No. 9 Maxwell (11-10) at No. 8 Chester (16-10); No. 11 Biggs (6-19) at No. 5 American Christian (22-3); and No. 10 Etna (8-15) at Evergreen League champion Big Valley (15-5), the No. 7 seed.

Quarterfinal games are scheduled for Feb. 22, and semifinal games are scheduled for Feb. 27 at the home of the higher seeds. The Division 6 boys championship game is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at Shasta College in Redding.

Division 5 girls

The Mount Shasta girls are seeded No. 6 even though they tied for No. 3 on the final NSCIF Division 5 Playoff Points list with East Nicolaus (16-9) and Portola (19-7).

Trinity (15-11) was No. 6 on the points list, but is seeded No. 5 and opens the postseason at No. 4 East Nicolaus.

The Bears finished tied for second in the Shasta Cascade League with Trinity and lost both their SCL games to the Wolves.

Mount Shasta would have definitely been seeded above Trinity had the Bears not lost Friday night’s final regular season game in overtime to Etna, 49-43.

Etna is seeded No. 5 in Division 6 and opens at No. 4 Los Molinos Friday.

Mount Shasta coach Kirk Andrus believes the SCL teams were penalized in the bracketing process because their league is so competitive. He thinks the Bears, Trinity and Etna all deserved home games.

But he also sees the Bears having “a great opportunity” at their spot in the bracket.

If they win at Portola Thursday, the Bears would advance to play a section semifinal game against either No. 7 Modoc (14-10) or No. 2 Hamilton (20-6) at the home of the higher seed on Feb. 27.

The Bears defeated Modoc twice during the SCL season and defeated Hamilton in a tournament game Dec. 15 in Hamilton City, 46-33.

Hamilton went on to place second to Durham in the Mid-Valley League.

Mount Shasta played Durham in the Northern Section championship game the past two seasons and won the title in 2016.

After losing the section championship to Durham last year, the Bears went on an extended run on the road in the Northern California playoffs.

Division 6 girls

The Weed girls are one of three Shasta Cascade League teams in the Division 6 girls playoff bracket.

If the Cougars win their opener Wednesday night at Mercy, they’ll advance to play SCL champion Fall River (21-5), the No. 1 seed, Friday, Feb. 23.

The Etna girls (15-9) are seeded No. 5 and open at No. 4 Los Molinos (13-5).

No. 2 Redding Christian (20-2), will host either No. 7 Tulelake of No. 10 Burney in the quarterfinals, while No. 3 Biggs hosts No. 6 Loyalton.