Lady Cougars tear up the court during preseason play

The Lassen College women’s basketball team hit the ground running with two tournaments in the first two weeks of November. The Lady Cougars finished four of the six tournament games on top, thus bringing their overall record so far to 4-2.

Lassen started off their 2017 career with two wins and a loss at the Mission College Tournament between Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 in Santa Clara, California.

They then traveled to Livermore, California for the Las Positas College Tournament held between Thursday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 11. While there, the Lady Cougars secured another two wins for the season as well as a loss.

During the Mission Tournament, Lassen faced off against the Sierra Wolverines, the Mission Saints and the Modesto College Pirates.

The Cougars then faced the Monterey Peninsula Lobos, the Las Positas Hawks and the San Jose City College Jaguars while at the Los Positas Tournament.

The Lady Cougars opened their season with a 76-56 loss to the Sierra Wolverines, but the Lassen ladies were determined that the unfortunate start would not throw off their groove.

During the Sierra game, Lassen struggled in the first quarter and ended it with the Wolverines in the lead 27-4.

In the next three quarters, Lassen picked it up and ended up outscoring the Sierra ladies, but the first quarter damage was too much to overcome.

Shayla Carrier led the Cougars with 16 points scored. Jocelyn Gandara followed with 10 and Hannah Carson was close behind with 8 points scored.

Per the information from the Lassen College athletics website, “Newcomer Justice Akins and sophomore returner Victoria Moore did an outstanding job leading the team at the point, providing key leadership when breaking Sierra’s full-court press.”

The women’s basketball head coach, Dorinda Shaffer, commented, “I really believe if we had to play Sierra again, we would have a much stronger showing. This was our first game of the season, and with mostly freshmen, it was evident opening game jitters affected us. We missed a lot of shots that we normally make and we just could not afford to do that against a top team like Sierra.”

Lassen won its second game of the tournament against hosting team, the Mission Saints, with a score of 66-50.

The Lassen ladies started out hot and kept bumping up their intensity until they were simply on fire.

The first quarter ended with the Lady Cougars trailing behind the Saints with an 18-12 score on the board, but the Mission lead wouldn’t last long.

Quarter two was called with 31-26 on the board favoring the Cougars, and the Lassen lead only increased form there.

By the end of quarter three, the score had reached 56-37.

Though Lassen was pleased with how quickly they gained the lead, the Mission team didn’t take the news as well.

Near the end of the game, the Saints’ frustration overpowered their composure when words exchanged resulted in a physical dispute on the court. The fight caused multiple players from each team to be ejected from the game, thus awarded Lassen the win with less than one minute remaining on the court.

Gandara led the Cougars in points with 22 scored throughout the game, and Carrier was close behind with 17.

Gandara also led the team in rebounds with a total of 11 recorded. Carson followed with six, Carrier had five and both Maddie Camacho and Justice Akins had four.

Shaffer said, “It’s unfortunate that the win was tainted by the brawl at the end of the game. It is important for all coaches and players to remember that winning with grace and losing with dignity is the desired outcome, regardless of which side you are on. I think my girls have learned a hard lesson that it is better to let their play on the court do the talking rather than participate in unsportsmanlike conduct.

The win against Mission earned the Lady Cougars a spot against Modesto College for the consolation championship game on Nov. 5.

Lassen won the Consolation Champion Title after the game against Modesto resulted in a 52-45 final score.

During the final game of the tournament, Lassen started on top and remained there until the end, despite their limited roster.

In the first quarter, Lassen finished with a 14-11 lead. Quarter two was called with 24-20 on the board in favor of the Cougars. Both teams scored 15 points in the third quarter, and during the final quarter, Lassen once again outscored the Modesto Pirates with 13 points compared to the Pirates’ 10.

Camacho led the Cougars in points for the Modesto game with a total of 23 recorded. Carson was close behind with 14.

Carson led the team in rebounds with a total of 11, Camacho made nine, Gracie McCoy had five and both Anna Vidales and Sophie Wardrip made four.

After all was said and done, Camacho was named to the All-Tournament team.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” said Shaffer. “They stepped up and had an amazing defensive performance. Anna (Vidales) was able to shut down a player twice her size with sheer quickness and tenacity. Janae Larson and Desiree Bound both played a limited amount due to injuries, but their willingness to give their teammates a rest was extremely valuable. I really believe that we proved to each other how deep our team is.”

Once the Lady Cougars secured the Consolation Champion Title, they were ready to take on the Monterey Peninsula Lobos at the Las Positas Tournament.

Lassen opened the Las Positas Tournament with a 76-54 win against the Monterey Peninsula Lobos.

The Lady Cougars played extremely well on the court despite having four players still suspended due to the scuffle against Mission.

Though the Lassen ladies were already sitting pretty on top of a 34-25 lead by the start of the second half, their greatest quarter was the third as the Lady Cougars jumped their score by 29 points and the Lobos could only manage to counter with 13.

Leading in points for the Cougars was Carrier with an outstanding 22 points to her credit alone.

“We noticed early in the game that Monterey could not handle Shalyla (Carrier),” said Shaffer. “She was quicker than their posts, and stronger than their guards. They could not find anyone to guard her. We gave her the ball as much as we could and we let her go to work. She had an amazing game.”

Savanna Miller was next on the board with 14 points scored. McCoy scored 13 and Camacho scored 12.

According to the women’s basketball website, Miller left the bench to go 4-5 from the three-point line to lead Lassen second in scoring.

Carson led the team in steals with seven. Brynn Winters had two blocks and Camacho had eight rebounds.

“I was really happy with how the team played. It was great to see players step up and come up with the win when we were missing four key players,” said Shaffer.

The Lady Cougars then advanced in the tournament to take down the hosting team, Las Positas, with a score of 66-50.

Lassen established a strong lead in the first half with 15 points scored in quarter one and another 18 scored in quarter two; in contrast, Las Positas managed 18 points scored in the first half in total.

The Cougars let up for the second half and allowed the hosting Hawks to outscore them in the first quarter 20-18. However, they were not as gracious in the final quarter as a 12 Hawk point-gain couldn’t stand up to the 15 points Lassen added to it’s score.

Camacho led the Lady Cougars with 19 points, and Ganadara followed with 18 points scored.

Victoria Moore led in steals with three recorded.

Gandara led the Cougars in rebounds as well with six in the books. Camacho, McCoy, Winters and Moore each had three rebounds to follow.

According to Shaffer, the game was a defensive battle as the referees called a tight game.

Shaffer said, “A total of 53 fouls were called in the game, which made both teams adjust, move their feet and hit free throws. I actually like it when teams play hard and clean, but it was difficult for some of my more physical layers to get into a rhythm.”

With two wins under their belt during the Las Positas Tournament, the Lady Cougars headed to the championship game against the San Jose City College Jaguars.

The nail-biter of a game resulted in a final score of 80-79 favoring the opposing team.

Lassen was consistently a few points behind the Jaguars in the first three quarters with scores of 24-19, 35-34 and 61-59, all favoring San Jose. However, in the fourth quarter, Lassen truly picked it up and took a five-point lead until the game neared its end.

Lassen was up by one point with 35 seconds remaining of the game, and a decision was made to attack the basket early in hopes of going up three and allowing the Cougars to end the game with the ball in their hands.

Luckily, the strategy worked. However, a foul against the Cougars threw a wrench in the plan.

Shaffer said, “We were in the driver’s seat at the end. I trust my team defense, that if given the chance, my team can defend for 30 seconds and then have the ball for the last possession. It worked almost exactly like I had planned, however, we failed to box out and we fouled on an offensive put back.”

With 10 seconds on the clock and a score of 79-78, Lassen, on the board, Las Positas was awarded two free throws and made both attempts.

Lassen had the ball in their possession for the few seconds remaining, but despite the sprint made by Camacho, the Cougars were unable to cross the court and score in the limited amount of time.

“I felt good that we got the ball into Camacho and that she had a great drive to the basket. I thought she had been fouled and that she should have been shooting two free throws for the win, but the officials thought different. Regardless, we should have completed the defensive play by boxing out and rebounding and then the win would have been ours. I’d rather learn this lesson now instead of in a conference game,” said Shaffer.

Camacho led the Cougars with 26 points and five rebounds. She was again selected for the All-Tournament team.

Following on the board was Gracie McCoy with 18 points. Gandara scored 13 and Carson made 10.

Carrier also made five rebounds and was followed by Carson with three.

Though the Lady Cougars didn’t leave either tournament with the first-place trophy, the Lassen ladies put their hearts on the court and certainly gave Cougar fans a taste of what the season will hold.