Weed Cougars win consolation crown at Mt. Shasta Holiday Tourney

Dave Sjostedt and Bill Choy
Grant Lane of the Wed Cougars, above, gets ready to take a shot against Reno Thursday night at the 0th Annual Mt. Shasta Holiday Tournament. 
photo by Dave Sjostedt

The Weed Cougars varsity boys' basketball team had the bad luck to draw eventual tourney winner Reno, a school of 1,700 students, in the opening round of the 50th Annual Mt. Shasta Holiday Tournament, losing 55-39 on Thursday.

They came back to defeat American Christian Academy and Lassen to win the consolation title and improve to a sterling 7-1 for the year. The Cougars ended the first week of the season the previous week with a tourney title at the Block F Tournament at Fall River High School.

Cougars head coach Robert West said that the Cougars are currently the number one ranked team in the state of California in Division 6. The Cougars played Reno tough, leading 25-24 at the half and pulling out to a 35-28 third quarter lead before a deep and tall Reno team wore them down

“We played a great first half,” Coach West said. “The second half we struggled to take care of the ball and committed 16 turnovers to their four.”

“It was a good test for us to play a school of their size and caliber and being competitive is all that I could really ask for,” he added. “ I was very proud of our performance and playing with a team like that can only be a confidence booster down the road."

The Lane brothers did the bulk of the scoring for the Cougars with Grant hitting one of Weed’s two three-pointers and scoring 12 point and 10 rebounds, while Dallas put up 11 points and nine rebounds..

Tripp Rodriguez had the other three, scoring seven points and playing hair-on-fire defense.  He finished with four rebounds and three steals. Angel Nicholas and Jivarqua Jordan-Foster each scored four points.

The Cougars bounced back Friday against American Christian Academy of Anderson, as they cruised to a 85-54 victory.

Rodriguez finished with 25 points,    including 19 in the third quarter, and had five rebounds Jordan Foster had  16  points Grant Lane put up  15  points  including a big dunk in the second quarter,  13 rebounds, and six assists. Dallas Lan chipped in eight points. In a match up against another D6 opponent.Weed led 16-10 at the end of the first quarter. The Weed offense roared to life in the second quarter, outscoring American Christian 26-13 to take a 42-23 advantage. 

Rodriguez sparked the team in the third quarter, as he scored 19 points in the quarter and went 9-for-10 from the field. The Cougars led 73-39 after three. as the Weed  bench got to play in the final quarter, as nine out of 11 Weed players scored in the contest. “It was good to get some of  our bench players some efficient minutes,” West said. “ My whole team works hard and it was nice to see them rewarded with some game time.”

Saturday, in the consolation title match, Weed faced another larger division school in the  D4 Lassen Grizzlies.  West said it helped that his squad played Lassen at the Mount Shasta Tourney last year and at a Sacramento State team camp this past summer. “We know that Lassen loves to play physical and hard nosed defense and we knew that if we didn't enter the game focused and with energy that we would be in for a dog fight.,” West said.

Coach West said the Cougars came out in the first quarter confident, shot  the ball wel.l  WHS led at the half 29-17. Weed kept plying well in the third quarter and took a 41-28 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies did not go down without a fight, as the Cougars hung on to a 56-51 victory.

“Lassen upped its pressure and intensity and we didn't do much to match that intensity down the stretch,” West said. “I feel that we learned that we have to play hard for 32 minutes."

Dallas Lane finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Grant Lane had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan-Foster  had 13 points and seven rebounds. Rodriguez was rewarded with All Tournament Team honors.  “Tripp is a very fundamentally sound basketball player with a very high IQ,” Coach West stated. “ He is a tireless leader and never backs down from a challenge. He continues to strive to become the best player that he can be. I really can't think of a better leader for our team and he is just one of many that I have.“

Weed started last week with  a 60-49 home win on Tuesday, Dec. 10 versus Los Molinos.

Grant Lane scored eight of his team high 20 points in the first quarter as the Cougars jumped out to a 16-9 lead. Weed led by only eight points at halftime but outscored the Bulldogs in quarter three 17-6 to take a commanding lead.  Rodriguez scored 15 points, many of them on slashing drives to the bucket. Nicholas came off concussion protocol to score six points.

The Cougars were supposed to play at Mercy on Tuesday, but the contest was called off and will be played later in the season. On Thursday, Weed will face another larger division school in West Valley on the first day of the Anderson Invitational. The  contest begins at 5 p.m. The three-day tourney concludes on Saturday.