The Golden Valley Conference started for the men’s basketball team Saturday, Jan. 6 with a home game against the Shasta Knights.
Unfortunately, while the Cougars finished the pre-conference play with a couple wins, they couldn’t keep the momentum going once conference began. Lassen lost to the Knights with a final score of 84-48.
Head coach Will Freedman commented, “To say this performance was disappointment would be an understatement. We looked shell-shocked from the opening tip and Shasta just took full advantage of it all night. They are a really talented team led by a really good coach and if you let a team like that get confidence they can make you look really bad.
“I hope this humbled us because we need to rededicate ourselves to the details of the game. We need to use this a fuel for the rest of the season. We have nine more games left and we will see Shasta again; we look forward to redeeming ourselves.”
The Shasta Knights came out of the gate on fire and didn’t cool off throughout their 40 minutes on the court.
According to Freedman, the exact opposite was true for the Cougars.
“Lassen struggled from the floor offensively, which was not a good combination against Shasta sharp shooters. Shasta finished the game with 18 three-point field goals made and ran away with the victory 84-48.”
As mentioned by Freedman, one of the greatest advantages Shasta had over the Cougars was their consistent accuracy with three-pointers. Shasta ended the game with a total of 54 points credited to three-pointers.
Lassen didn’t earn their first point on the court until Shasta had already reached 18.
With slightly less than half of the first half remaining, Lassen had reached the double-digits on the board with 10 points. However, by this time, Shasta had earned 34.
With 7:40 on the clock, Kameron Brandon hit a basket to bring the Cougars to 12 points, but a Shasta layup two minutes later pushed the Knights up to 36 points.
Unwana Ekiko hit a basket at 5:03 and after Shasta made a three-pointer and a two-point field goal, Kareem Johnson brought the Cougars up by another two points via a rebound shot.
With 1:39 remaining of the half, Brandon caught the defensive rebound, sprinted down court and successfully hit a layup to finish Lassen’s point gain for the first half at 18.
Right before the buzzer rang, Shasta hit a good free throw to finish off their point gain for the half at 42.
Down by 24 points, the Cougars attempted to start over by the start of the second half.
Denzil Guwa was first to challenge the score with a basket after Xaiver Lovelace passed the ball to him from underneath the net at 19:22.
Max Denham then earned another two points for the Cougars with a set of good free throws and Lovelace followed soon afterward with a rebound shot at 18:32 to bring Lassen’s point tally to 24.
Shasta got their heads back in the game after two minutes passed in the second half. A three-pointer hit at 17:47 was soon followed with a basket to bring their score to 47 points.
Between the two Shasta successes, Brandon snuck in a basket. Then, Ekiko made a layup of his own with 16 minutes remaining of the game.
Shasta hit a pair of three-pointers as the game entered its final 15 minutes, but another basket by Ekiko paused the Shasta success.
An easy layup by Guwa was sandwiched between two Shasta baskets, and at 12:52, Ekiko shot and made a three-pointer to please the Cougar crowd.
Things got heated on the court soon after Ekiko’s shot, and after some discussion, it was determined that a Shasta Knight and Lassen’s Lovelace would each be penalized with a technical foul.
Shasta let their frustration show on the court as they scored two three-pointers and a two-point dunk within the next two minutes.
In the same span of time, Lassen’s Brandon brought in another point via free throw and Ekiko sunk a basket.
Lassen greeted the final 10 minutes of the game with a basket from Ekiko and a three-pointer from DeMario Newman.
A free throw from Shasta brought the score to 67-43, Knights, by the time the clock hit eight and a half minutes.
Two two-point field goals hit by Shasta were followed with a basket from Brandon. Then, the Knights erupted with effort as they landed three three-pointers back to back before sinking a free throw.
Denham was finally able to come between the Knights at their basket with 1:15 on the clock. Denham weaved in and out of the talented Shasta Knights after catching a defensive rebound and served a good layup. Due to a foul made against him as he shot, Denham then stood at the free throw line and granted Lassen their final point of the game.
Shasta had one more layup in them before calling it quits. With 37 seconds on the clock, the score was changed to 84-48, Shasta, where it would stay until the game’s end.