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Enterprise finds leadership in 55-42 D-III playoff win in quest for title repeat

Mianna Saechao provided senior leadership for Enterprise in its 55-42 Division III playoff win over Las Plumas on Thursday. (Photo by Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports)

With Abby Shoff going out in December with a season-ending injury, it has been about trying to find the right roles for Enterprise’s girls basketball team. One of those roles has been leadership.

Despite falling short to Pleasant Valley last week for the Eastern Athletic League title, the Hornets remain focused on pushing for a Northern Section title repeat.

A 8-0 second-quarter run gave second-seeded Enterprise the push it needed as No. 7 Las Plumas couldn’t find a way to regain the lead and the Hornets advanced Thursday 55-42 in the Northern Section Division III quarterfinal.

All Shasta County Sports playoff action is presented by Redding Rancheria.

“We weren’t ready for them, that’s why we started off slow, at the end though it comes down to leaders. Mianna (Saechao) did a great job leading us at the end of the game,” Enterprise coach Anthony Williams said.

The Hornets found themselves in foul trouble early and sent Las Plumas to the line often. Thunderbirds guard Sonny Smiley exited the game early after a hard fall and didn’t return till midway through the fourth quarter.

“I knew by watching the film that they were very athletic and basically ran all guards,” Las Plumas coach Toby Thompson said. “With 4 (Smiley) going down I was like ‘Oh no’ because we have to have full manpower. They’re just very athletic and move really well.”

An 8-0 Enterprise run to start the second quarter sparked by Kylie Mendes’ layup and Jasmine Saephan’s back-to-back 3s helped the Hornets seize control going into intermission 21-16. Saephan’s 11 points led all scorers at half.

Jacey Whetstone picked up the scoring for the Hornets in the second half. After an 0-for-3 first half, she finished the game with 13 points. Enterprise jumped out to a 14-point lead in the third but Las Plumas would cut it to single-digits. However, the Thunderbirds couldn’t get closer.

Las Plumas’s Shawnia Copple led all scorers with 19 points and Thompson chipped in with nine.

“I thought we played really well tonight. We’re the smallest team in this division and we came out and battled and I’m so proud of these girls of mine,” said Thompson.

Enterprise hosts the winner of Red Bluff-Chico on Tuesday in the D-III semifinals. Las Plumas finishes their season 10-17.

“We’re excited for whoever we face next. Just need to get the energy back up,” Williams said.

Las Plumas 12-4-15-11-42
Enterprise 13-8-18-16-55
Thunderbirds (10-17) Copple 19, Thompson 9, Carillo-Lopez 6, Cobib 3, Madison 2, Davy 2, Smiley 1.
Hornets (18-11) Whetstone 13, Saephan 11, N. Mendes 9, James 8,  Saechao 8, Saueturn 3. K. Mendes 2, Norvell 2.
3-pointers – LP – 6: Thompson (3), Copple (2), Carillo-Lopez. EHS – 10: Whetstone (4), Saephan (3), Saechao (2), James.

Max is a young up-and-coming journalist who carries shares a die-hard passion for sports with the rest of the SCS team and has loved sports ever since he can remember. He's covered Northern Section championship football and basketball games as well as state playoffs games in his first year as a reporter for SCS. Max is currently enrolled at Shasta College and is working toward his Bachelors Degree in journalism.

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