Monday, Feb. 18, the Lassen High School Lady Grizzlies basketball team faced off in their first playoff game of the season against the Wheatland Pirates, where the Lady Grizzlies defeated them 80-57.
The Lady Grizzlies then faced off against the Gridley Bulldogs Wednesday, Feb. 20, in one of the most intense matches of the season, defeating Gridley 55-51.
Lady Grizzlies vs. Wheatland
The first quarter started with Ellie Stewart winning the tip off. Jamie Larson kicked off the game with an easy lay-up, to which Wheatland immediately responded, tying up the game.
Lassen’s offense was quick to turn things back around. Ronnie Merrill and Caitlyn Crosby ran the defense for the Lady Grizzlies in the first quarter with both not allowing Wheatland a chance at the basket. Crosby snuck in to snag passes made by Wheatland, and Merrill seemingly blocking all shots put up by Wheatland.
Stewart picked up the rebound shots at post, and Shelby Anderson drove an over bearing offense against Wheatland, where she and Lainey Nevis started their three-point shooting game early.
The Lady Grizzlies definitely set the pace of the game in the first quarter, leading 23-9.
In the second quarter, Wheatland defense buckled down and was able to put up a fight against the Lady Grizzlies, early on.
The Lady Grizzlies’ defense picked up the pace, later in the quarter. Wheatland out shot the Lady Grizzlies in the second; they couldn’t contain Anderson and Nevis in the outside, where they excelled at either finding their opening for a three pointer or scoring under the basket.
Wheatland’s defense helped slow the pace of the Lady Grizzlies, not allowing them to run the court like they had in the first quarter, but it wasn’t enough to help them close the gap in points.
The Lady Grizzlies finished 34-23 over the Pirates in the second quarter, led by Anderson’s aggressive offensive push and Stewart’s accuracy at the basket they would continue this into the subsequent quarters.
The Lady Grizzlies stormed into the third quarter.
Within seconds Anderson put up a basket, then a steal by Merrill handed off to Larson who scored another to start the first 30 seconds of the quarter.
Wheatland was looking to respond when they missed a three-point shot completely. Larson had been waiting. She caught the missed shot and passed it off to Nevis, who took the ball down uncontested for an easy lay-up for the Lady Grizzlies.
The third quarter was where the Lady Grizzlies also garnered the most fouls, giving Wheatland plenty of opportunity at the free throw line. They missed their chance there to make up any points, only making three of their 11 attempts at the line.
With only two minutes left in the third quarter, Hailey Mena, of the Lady Grizzlies, came in and out the gate to score a two-point swish. After a response by Wheatland, Mena took it down and put away a three-pointer to join Anderson and Nevis on the three-point club for the game.
While Wheatland looked to be coming out strong, at times, the Lady Grizzlies took full control of the court in the final minutes of the quarter, shutting Wheatland down at every turn.
The final quarter had Wheatland looking frustrated as they played a very over aggressive defense, resulting in charging and obstruction fouls in the final quarter. But the Lady Grizzlies kept cool heads and continued to steer the score, as well as the game, in their favor.
Anderson continued her three-point game, putting up her final one for the game early in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Grizzlies kept getting their shots at the free throw, thanks to the Wheatland teams mounting frustrations.
This all led to a 24-point quarter for the Lady Grizzlies, who over took Wheatland at the buzzer, 80-57, getting the Lady Grizzlies their first win in the NSCIF girls’ basketball playoffs.
Stewart led the Lady Grizzlies in score, recording 25 points by the game’s end. Anderson followed, with 16 points — four of them three- pointers. And Larson, who topped off at 12 points.
With Wheatland defeated, the Lady Grizzlies went on to play the Gridley Bulldogs just two days later Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Lady Grizzlies vs. Gridley
The Lassen Lady Grizzlies basketball team, after facing down the Wheatland Pirates, took on the highly skilled Gridley Bulldogs.
The first quarter began with Ellie Stewart winning the tip off for the Lady Grizzlies, but Gridley managed to take possession of the ball for the first field goal of the game.
Stewart responded on the rebound after a missed shot in the box by Merrill. Then the first of many fouls on Gridley would send the Lady Grizzlies to the free throw line, starting with one by Crosby, then two by Stewart and one more by Nevis.
This put the Lady Grizzlies ahead, 6-2, with only three minutes left in the first quarter.
Gridley then got their chance at a free throw, gaining a one-point difference in the score until Larson put another one away.
Lady Grizzly, Merrill, was able to finally break the foul streak as Anderson, off the rebound, made a huge pass to Merrill. She then scored an easy lay-up for the Lady Grizzlies, giving them a 9-5 lead, over Gridley.
Gridley then managed a lay-up just seconds before the end of the quarter, putting them just two points shy of the Lassen ladies, 9-7, going into the second quarter.
The beginning of the second quarter looked to be the Lady Grizzlies’ time to break free of the over bearing defense Gridley had brought with them.
Nevis started the quarter with a three-pointer.
Following a scuffle on the ground, Nevis managed to recover and get the ball to Stewart, took a jump shot to score another two points for the Lady Grizzlies.
The free-throw-fest began again when Anderson put one up, closely followed by Stewart, who scored two more.
This gave the Lady Grizzlies a 10-point lead at 17-7, but Gridley did not sit idle for long.
After a time out by Gridley, they responded with a three-pointer, and then they were given a chance at the free throw line.
The Lady Grizzlies continued pressuring the Gridley defense. Merrill put pressure on the ball every time Gridley gained possession, and ultimately managed to steal and block the Gridley offense on multiple occasions.
Gridley also seemed to be aware of Anderson’s place on the team, as she drove the offense more often than not in prior games, but Gridley stifled her ability to do what she does best.
As the second quarter drew to a close the Lady Grizzlies managed to keep the lead, but Gridley made a push, climbing just five points behind the Lady Grizzlies 27-22.
The third quarter started with the ball in Gridley’s possession. But two back-to-back fouls found it in the Lady Grizzlies’ court.
Larson started off the quarter with a shot in the box, then another free throw by Stewart.
With about five minutes left in the third quarter, it appeared the Lady Grizzlies were about to push ahead to a cozy lead, sitting at 30-22 over Gridley.
Gridley, however, reconvened for a timeout and made a hard push to catch up, eventually overtaking the Lady Grizzlies lead with just two minutes to spare.
Thanks to a concerted team effort by the Lady Grizzlies, Anderson, with renewed confidence, began out-dribbling the Gridley defense, making her way in the box where either Larson would make the hook shot or Merrill was waiting in the open for the easy two pointers.
The third quarter was a definite battle for control of the court, as both teams seemed to have equal defense, with Lassen overall being more accurate with their shooting abilities.
The fourth and final quarter was the most tense, as both teams pushed with incredible drive to win this game.
The Lady Grizzlies were able to push the score in the first seconds of the quarter with Anderson putting up a quick two point shot.
Gridley was given another shot at the free throw line, where they had previously had trouble in the quarters before, but managed one shot to inch them closer to the Lady Grizzlies.
Gridley was able to take the game to their basket, but Larson caught an air ball and passed it off to Crosby, who took it down for a quick lay-up.
Anderson then managed a steal, and made her way down for a score, with the Gridley defense on her tail.
Stewart put up a rebound shot after Anderson, Merrill and Larson all missed it just under the basket.
Gridley was eight points behind 53-45, with a little over three minutes left in the final quarter.
Gridley somehow managed to catch up, getting within two points of the Lady Grizzlies, 53-51, but an ill timed foul, on behalf of Gridley, put Anderson at the free throw line, with only 32 seconds left on the clock. Anderson sunk both her free throws, maintaining the Lady Grizzlies’ lead, 55-51.
Gridley attempted to make something happen in their favor, but after dropping the ball, the Lady Grizzlies held on through the clock to win their second playoff game.
Following the win against Gridley, the Lady Grizzlies faced off against Willows at Butte College for the NSCIF girls basketball division IV championships. Where the Lady Grizzlies won the NSCIF Divisioin IV championships against Willows 42-41.