Grizzly fans everywhere were given reason to rejoice on Friday, Feb. 17 as the varsity boys’ basketball team won the Northern Athletic League Championship title after a 53-40 winning score against the Yreka Miners.
The game looked promising from the start with a great group of boys representing the Grizzlies on the court.
Coach Paul Moore said, “In my 28 years of coaching I am not sure I have coached a team that has improved as much as this team has. The kids from Jan. 5 on have been playing great basketball. These kids have become a true team and share the basketball extremely well that is truly a fun team to watch.”
In the first quarter of the game, Lassen gave themselves a decent lead against the Miners with 16-10 on the board.
The hard work put forth by the Grizzlies took its toll in the second half, however, and the boys were outscored by one point.
Ultimately, thanks to the cushion Lassen established in quarter one, the boys entered the second half up by five.
The halftime break provided more than enough energy to the Grizzlies as Lassen saw a 16-point gain in quarter three to counter Yreka’s 13-point gain.
The Grizzly boys were definitely faced with some hostility in the Yreka gym as the Miners not only had their average crowd of supporters, but they also had the Homecoming and senior night vibes echoing throughout the gym.
Despite the continuous chants encouraging Lassen to lose, the boys were too overwhelmed with power and strategy to give up.
In the final quarter of the game, Lassen only furthered their lead by scoring 13 points as opposed to Yreka’s eight.
Ultimately, while the Miner crowd tried to send the Grizzlies home with stern looks of distaste, the Grizzlies couldn’t help but smile as they journeyed home with the win.
Regarding the Feb. 17 game, Chad Arnold lead the team with 20 points raked in. Wyatt Martin was next up with 10 points.
Jacob Bennett had a season high of nine points scored in the game with three three-pointers.
Wyatt DelCarlo scored eight points for the team.
Not only did the 53-40 win secure Lassen’s spot as the winner of the game, but it also granted the Grizzlies the NAL Championship title.
This is the first boys’ basketball League Championship since the 1990 team won the title under guidance of Gary Spafford.
An interesting fact regarding League Champions was brought up by Moore. David DelCarlo was a member of the 1990 championship team; now his son Wyatt DelCarlo has accepted his place as a member of the 2017 championship team.
The Grizzlies have used the 2016-2017 season to focus on bettering themselves, and it has shown.
Moore commented, “I have been told by many people in the community what a pleasure it is to watch these kids pass the ball to each other.
“Before Jan 5th we were giving up 57 points a game on average but since then we are giving up 48 points a game. So obviously our defense has been the key to our league title and nothing could excite me more as when I took over I had told everyone we were going to be a defensive team first and these players have taken it to heart and that’s why they are Champions.”
The Grizzlies’ great performance throughout the season has resulted in the boys skipping round one and heading straight for round two of the playoffs.
The accomplishment has clearly made the head coach proud. Moore later continued, “We have an amazing coaching staff as well. Doug Satica is an amazing coach and does so many of the behind the scenes things such as all of our filming and trades; he has such a unique relationship with the players that they really respond to.
“Ron Moore brings a unique knowledge to the team after over 35 years of officiating – including state championship games. He also is someone the players go to with questions.
“Jarrett Ellena, who is one of the best players to come out of Lassen, is able to give the kids great perspective from a player’s standpoint and still mixes it up with the players.”