When Jermaine Mondaine steps on the court at Manatowa Gymnasium, he can feel a distinct pressure and pride while sporting black and gold on his chest.
Adding one more Northern Section boys basketball title to a program with 20 to its name is enough of a driving force for fourth-seeded Enterprise as the Hornets handled crosstown rival Shasta 67-63 in a Northern Section Division III semifinal Friday night. Playoff coverage is presented by Redding Rancheria.
“The crowd always gets going when we play at home,” said Mondaine, who helped the Hornets to a 4-1 record against the Wolves this season with all four wins coming at home. “We know we have to play hard but there’s a lot of history in this place and at Enterprise High School and we want to carry that tradition through the years.”
Enterprise (16-12) led from midway through the second quarter on but Shasta kept it interesting by cutting the deficit to five on four occasions, the last of which coming on a putback from Simon Turner to make it 66-61 in the final minute.
After Gage Owen missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Shasta (16-13) took 21 seconds to cut it to a one possession game on Armal Dhinsa’s tip-in. The Wolves misfired on four attempts – a layup from JT Beasley, a 3 from Dilraj Sahota and two-footers from Turner and Sahota before Dhinsa cut it to 3 with 8 seconds left.
Video by Tracy Holmes/Shasta County Sports
Demarreya Lewis-Cooper was fouled and sent to the line for a 1-and-1. The sophomore point guard made the first to ice the game and send the Hornets to Wednesday’s semifinal matchup against Foothill after a grueling fifth matchup against the Wolves.
“They’ve been playing very inspired and our defense the last three or four games has been impeccable,” Enterprise coach Jim Deaver said. “We’ve been playing some of our best basketball lately.”
Deaver noting recent win over Foothill and Pleasant Valley as victories that have raised the Hornets’ confidence heading into the playoffs.
Shasta felt the brunt of it. But not until near the midway point in the second quarter when the Hornets took the lead for good. Mondaine followed his 3-pointer by blowing a kiss to the Shasta student section to go up 29-23 and Lewis-Cooper spun in the lane to beat the buzzer and cap a 7-0 run to end the half up 31-23.
Enterprise flirted with a double-digit lead most of the third quarter as sophomore Brennan Ramirez had answer after answer for the Hornets’ counterpart. He finished with a game-high 22 points on six 3s, seemingly all of them to halt Shasta’s momentum.
“He’s never afraid to shoot and has a lot of confidence in that respect,” Deaver said. “There were a couple of times when it’s not the shot you want but I caught myself saying ‘no—nice shot. You’re on, shoot it.’ ”
Beasley cut it to seven with a layup but Ramirez buried a corner 3 to go up 10. Beasley attacked the rim at the end of the third, completing a old-fashioned three-point play with 0.3 left to trail 51-44 heading to the final stanza.
Beasley scored 12 of his team-high 19 points in the second half in his attempt to revive the Wolves’ offense. With Enterprise looking like it was going to pull away, Beasley swished a 3 from the top of the key to cut it to eight. He later set Turner up inside for 2 but the Hornets had enough breathing room.
“JT really couldn’t have played better tonight,” said Shasta coach Jordan Freilich. “He showed a ton of heart and he’s a kid I loved to coach for every single moment.”
Mondaine picked up a loose ball and took it the other way for a layup to stretch the lead to 10 with 2:41 left. The Hornets came up with a stop on defense and then held the ball for 1:08 thanks to a Mondaine offensive board.
“I was telling everyone to run the offense back again because even if we couldn’t score we’d still take time off the clock,” Deaver said.
A Turner putback cut it to seven and Dhinsa’s tip-in brought it to five with 58 seconds left. Ramirez once again responded by nailing both ends of a 1-and-1 and the Wolves ran out of time at the end to get closer than three.
Turner finished with 14 points while James Weaver and Dhinsa each tallied nine points.
Mondaine contributed with 19 points and Lewis-Cooper added 12.
Another familiar foe awaits Enterprise in top-seeded Foothill in the semifinals. The Cougars won two of three this year but the Hornets took the last meeting 51-50.
“For us seniors, we want a section championship,” Mondaine said. “We know their tendencies and they know ours. It’s about who has the most heart and who wants to play as hard as they possibly can because that will the team that advances.”
Enterprise 67, Shasta 63
Shasta (16-13): Beasley 19, Turner 14, Weaver 9, Dhinsa 9, Sahota 7, Singleton 5.
Enterprise (16-12): Ramirez 22, Mondaine 19, Lewis-Cooper 12, Owen 7, Fuller 7.
3-pointers—Shasta 6 (Beasley 2, Weaver 2, Sahota); Enterprise 10 (Ramirez 6, Fuller 2, Mondaine, Lewis-Cooper).
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