The Cougars have faced a tough season with injuries and a very competitive Golden Valley Conference, and as the end of the season draws near, the Cougars are pulling out all the stops.
Saturday, Feb. 1 the Cougars loaded the bus to take on the College of the Redwoods Corsairs, but despite a solid defense the Cougars took a 75-58 loss.
Then the Cougars brought the competition back home Wed. Feb. 12 where they went against the Feather River College’s Golden Eagles, where the game remained close throughout, but the Cougars were able to pull out the 86-84 win over the visiting team.
College of the Redwoods
The Cougars had a tough task trying to slow down the high scoring Redwoods, but they were up to the challenge. Lassen set the tone defensively, not letting College of the Redwoods get any open or easy shots to start the game.
The defensive momentum carried over to the offensive side as the Cougars attacked the basket at will and had an early lead.
Eventually the sharp shooting Corsairs woke up and started to make a run. Lassen entered the break, down 42-29. The Cougars continued to battle on the defensive side all game long, holding Redwoods to below their average points per game.
However, Lassen wasn’t able to consistently hold it together on the offensive side, and they fell 75-58.
Sophomore Mykyta Kalin led the Cougars in scoring with 12 points, followed by freshman Gianno Govan who had 10 points while sophomore Jordan Muknega just missed out on a double double with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Cougars Coach Will Freedman said following the game, “This game was all about Redwoods taking advantage of our mistakes. We had a handful of possessions where we would play 25 seconds of great defense, then let up, and Redwoods would score. We need to learn the value of finishing possessions in order to finish conference strong.”
Feather River College
The first matchup between the Cougars and the Golden Eagles had to be decided in overtime, and while this game was decided in regulation, the game was up for grabs until the final seconds.
The game started out back and forth with both teams finding it easy to score. Neither team was able to really pull away until Lassen finished the half on a 14-7 run that gave them a nine point lead heading into the break.
The beginning of the second half was not very kind to the Cougars. Feather River switched up their defense, and it really seemed to stall the Lassen offense.
The Golden Eagles proceeded to go on a run that not only erased the nine point deficit, but they actually took a one point lead. At five minutes remaining in the game, Lassen started the comeback.
Little by little the Cougars chipped away at the lead and found themselves with the ball and the game tied.
Sophomore Kalin was fouled and made both free throws to give the Cougars an 86-84 lead that they never gave up.
Sophomore Ibrahim Shabazz led the Cougars in scoring with 25 points, followed by Kalin who had 17 and Jordan Mukenga who had 13 points of his own.
Coach Freedman noted, “This game said a lot about this group’s fight. They didn’t give up especially when things got bad in the second half. It was a battle for the entire 40 minutes, and I am proud that this group was able to come out on top.”