Cougars represent at March Madness tournaments

Lassen Community College garnered national attention during the NCAA Division 1 basketball tournaments in March.

Kicking off the first day of the D1 NCAA tournament, former Cougar and now University of Pennsylvania player Caleb Wood, who played basketball under head coach Will Freedman in the 2015/2016 season, performed exceptionally well, with one of the announcers exclaiming “Lassen Community College,” after Wood landed a clean three point shot against top seeded University of Kansas March 15.

There was a viewing party for the first round game, which the University of Pennsylvania ultimately lost, held in the Lassen Community College cafeteria. By chance, a group of visiting eight-graders happened to be present. When Lassen Community College received its shout out, Freedman commented, cheers erupted from local watchers.

“It was great to see a former player on that stage. I remember seeing how hard he would work day in and day out while he was here and it’s really nice to see his hard work paid off. I think by him making it that far shows that things work out as they should when you do what you should,” said Freedman.

Wood led the team with 14 points against Kansas.

“Wood is a great example of what can be accomplished here at Lassen. Start here and you can finish anywhere,” Freedman said. “I hope this inspires current and former players along with the local youth. Now, as we all enjoy the tournament and the journey Wood has gone through, the attention of our program now turns to who will be the next player to get on that stage and represent the college and community.”

Moreover, the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Tournament had some Cougar representation, as well.

According to Nicole Kelley, Lassen Community College interim resource development coordinator, a former Lassen College alumnus, Cherie Hogg, from the Class of 1992, helped lead the University of Buffalo women’s basketball team as an assistant coach to the sweet 16 of the tournament, falling to the University of South Carolina.

Hogg, a member of the 1992 Lady Cougar State Champion team that went 35-1, was also named to the All-State team that year.

Also an assistant coach for the University of Buffalo Lady Gamecocks, Kelley said, was Fred Chmiel, former assistant coach for the Lassen Community College men’s basketball team.