There’s nothing like a crosstown rivalry to light a fire under the Hornets.
It’s been that way all season. And Enterprise continues to thrive on the atmosphere.
Brennan Ramirez’s 3-pointer highlighted a 10-2 Hornet run midway through the fourth quarter to create separation from the Wolves and the Hornets finished off the west-siders 52-45 Thursday night at Manatowa Gymnasium for their third win in as many games – all coming on their home floor.
“These games are always fun and there’s no one else in the (Northern) Section that does that to each other,” said Enterprise coach Jim Deaver of the elevated play between the two rivals.
Shasta’s inconsistency surfaced once again despite owning the opening quarter – leading 15-8, holding the rebounding edge 15-3 and playing with energy. Dilraj Sahota hit a 3-pointer and Armal Dhinsa attacked the rim multiple occasions to score seven of his 11 points in the period.
But Enterprise (1-2 Eastern Athletic League, 12-7) responded with a 12-0 run in the second quarter highlighted by a Ramirez 3, an alley-oop reverse layup from Cody Crane to Kobe Fuller and Demarreya Lewis-Cooper’s trey and layup off a steal. Shasta’s fluid offense turned stagnant and the four-point period saw the Wolves (1-2 EAL, 14-7) trail 21-19 at the break.
“It’s no secret we’ve been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for most of the year,” Shasta coach Jordan Freilich said. “We played good team basketball early on and then we didn’t trust each other as much as we should the final three quarters.”
Shasta was winning on the glass 21-9 with nine offensive boards but Enterprise countered with the 6-foot-5 Crane inside to stand a chance against strong posts Simon Turner (10 rebounds) and Jacob Singleton (13 points, six rebounds). A usual quiet presence, Crane muscled his way around the rim for four rebounds. It led to Enterprise finding a few extra boards to halt any momentum Shasta could muster and flip it in the Hornets’ favor.
“We saw life out of him in practice the last few days,” Deaver said. “These are the type of games he shies away from but he did what we needed. We had to have a big body to stop the onslaught and I think it helped get those big guys a little tired.
“Something switched in him and I hope it stays that way.”
Enterprise never trailed in the second half and led 34-29 after the third quarter thanks to Lewis-Cooper converting a steal into a layup and making 1 of 3 free throws at the end of the period. Jermaine Mondaine’s 3 to open the fourth stretched Enterprise’s lead to seven, it’s largest of the game to that point.
Singleton cleaned up his own miss inside to cut it to four and JT Beasley’s transition finger roll made it a one possession game with 5:12 minutes to play.
Enterprise’s sophomore duo came through next with Lewis-Cooper sinking a pair of free throws followed by Ramirez swishing a trey – his third of the game – for a 44-36 lead.
After Mondaine’s team-high 15 points, Lewis-Cooper finished with 14 points and Ramirez had 11, proving the youthful Hornets have already grown up on the court.
“They’re not afraid to take the big shots or do whatever they have to do,” Deaver said. “They act like seniors and we get them for another two years.”
Singleton’s and-1 brought it within five but Mondaine hit both ends of a 1-and-1 and Fuller followed a transition layup miss with a tip-in to put the Hornets up nine in the final minute.
Shasta’s desperation 3s to narrow the gap didn’t fall and Enterprise locked up the season series over its rival. The two still meet at Shasta’s Harlan Carter Gymnasium on Feb. 7 and possibly a matchup down the road in the playoffs.
While it might be nice to get the Hornets at home after three contests at Manatowa, Freilich thinks the true testament for a championship contender is how they play away from home.
“Playing at home is nice but we have to want to play where the enemy lives,” Freilich said. “Foothill goes down to beat PV at their place. That’s what good teams do, win on the road in league.”
Shasta (1-2 EAL, 14-7): Singleton 13, Dhinsa 11, Beasley 8, Sahota 5, Turner 4, Weaver 2.
Enterprise (1-2 EAL, 12-7): Mondaine 15, Lewis-Cooper 14, Ramirez 11, Owen 6, Fuller 4, Crane 2.
3-pointers—Shasta 2: Sahota (1), Beasley (1); Enterprise 6: Ramirez (3), Mondaine (2), Lewis-Cooper (1).
Team EAL, Overall
Foothill 3-0, 18-2
PV 2-1, 12-7
Chico 2-1, 11-7
Enterprise 1-2, 12-7
Shasta 1-2, 14-6
Red Bluff 0-3, 4-16
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