Alberto Ortega runs the ball down the court against the Contra Costa Comets during the Cougars’ home game Nov. 8. Photos by Brian Walters

Cougars basketball picks up one win at Mendocino Tourney

The Cougars hit the road to participate in the John Hogue Memorial Tournament at Mendocino College Thursday, Nov. 21 to Saturday, Nov. 23. Lassen opened up the tournament against the host team, and it started out as a high energy battle.

Both teams came out sloppy, with neither team able to get the edge. As the game went on, the high energy turned into high emotion while both teams tried to put together a run to pull ahead.

The Cougars handled Mendocino’s early runs well, but after missing some uncharacteristic shots and free throws, they let the emotion and speed of the game get to them.
Lassen’s shot selection and poor decision making fell into the hands of the host team. The Cougars went into the half down and weren’t able to turn it around in the second half.

Lassen fell, 84-58. Sophomore Mykyta Kalin led the Cougars in scoring with 16 points.

The second day had Lassen matched up with a talented Cosumnes River College team. The Cougars came out much more determined on the defensive end to start the game. Despite the defensive edge they weren’t able to find a rhythm offensively due to the Cosumnes zone defense.

Despite the stagnant offense, the Cougars found themselves ahead by two points with two minutes left in the second half, until they lost track of the Cosumnes long-range shooters.

CRC finished the half on a run that gave them a lead they never gave back. The Cougars ended up losing 95-75. Sophomore Ibrahim Shabazz led Lassen in scoring with 21 points followed by Kalin with 18 and Andre Davis who added 10 points of his own.

The final day of the tournament was gut check time for the Cougars as they faced off with Modesto Junior College, a team full of shooters – an area on defense that Lassen really struggled with the night before.

However, it was a new day and with a different starting lineup the Cougars came out with a different intensity on both sides of the floor.

Lassen held their sharp shooting opponent to only three first half three pointers as the game went into the half deadlocked at 33.

However, the second half started less than perfectly for the Cougars. Modesto came out with a game plan of pounding the ball inside that quickly gave them an advantage on the scoreboard. After being down by as many as nine points, Lassen fought back to not only tie the game but to take a lead that they would never give back. The Cougars finished the weekend on a high note with a, 70-67 win.

Kalin again led the Cougars in scoring with 14 points, followed by freshman Rodas Yohannes with 13 points, and Davis and Shabazz each added 11 points.

“It was a frustrating weekend overall because of how we handled adversity the first two games. We are so much better than the product we put out there. We let the momentum and emotion of the first two games affect us too much. I am, however, extremely proud of how the guys bounced back against Modesto. It really was a full team effort and something we can really build off of as the really difficult part of our schedule begins,” said Coach Will Freedman.