BUTTE VALLEY — Mianna Saechao did all she could, but the injury-depleted Enterprise girls basketball team fell behind No. 1 seed Pleasant Valley early in the second period and couldn’t gain traction in a 48-33 Northern Section Division III finals loss.
All postseason action is presented by Redding Rancheria.
The Vikings came out sizzling in the second period, turning a 9-all tie after one into a 24-14 halftime edge.
PV sharpshooter Christiane Carlisle opened the quarter with a 3-ball from the right wing and Cassidy King followed that with one of her own from the right corner 45 seconds later. The lead ballooned to 18-9 after one of two free throws from Kylie Matthews and Enterprise didn’t get one to drop until Kylie Mendes’ deuce at the 2:55 mark of the second.
“This is the worst we’ve shot all year and it comes down to preparation,” Enterprise coach Anthony Williams said. “I didn’t have them prepared and it’s on me.”
Alissa Terras’ 3-pointer pulled the Hornets to within six at 20-14, but Shaley Vieg and Karli Lindquist ended the period with back-to-basket that had the Vikings wishing the intermission wasn’t coming.
In fact, PV emerged from the locker room with nearly five minutes remaining on the halftime clock.
“Yeah, we had momentum and didn’t want to stop playing,” PV coach Bob Paddock said.
And just like on Tuesday’s semifinal — Enterprise got hot to start the third and the Vikings were cold at the beginning.
Saechao scored an old-fashioned 3-point play and then hit from range for three of her team-high 19 points and Enterprise had cut the lead to 26-20 two minutes into the period. Out of a PV timeout, Terras hit a bucket down low and Saechao added her second triple of the quarter and Enterprise trailed 28-25 with 4:30 left in the third.
“Things weren’t going pretty good — they started out real good in the third quarter,” Paddock said.
And then the Hornets went cold, missing their final eight field goal attempts of the quarter.
“If you start knocking down shots, it makes it easier to get to the rack, bottom line,” Williams said. “If you make them, they have to play you and they weren’t falling.”
And while the Hornets shooting woes began, the Vikings found a way to end the third quarter on a 6-1 run as Cassidy King sank two bucket and Mallory Moore added a deuce to take a 34-26 lead into the final stanza.
“We told the girls (at half) ‘Let’s try to get it close before the fourth quarter’ and we got a little momentum, but like we talked about Tuesday, basketball is a game of runs and they just went on a bigger run for longer periods of time,” Williams said.
Paddock said the third period has been the Vikings’ Achilles heel all season — PV was outscored 19-5 in Tuesday’s 50-49 semifinal win over Shasta — and that, for once, his team was able to right the ship.
“We did (weather the storm) for once,” the PV coach said. “They came after us, but we hung through it and kept the lead and started building on it.”
And while the Vikings kept the Hornets at arm’s length to start the fourth period, it was Saechao who was doing all she could to keep Enterprise within striking distance.
She hit her first two shots of the fourth — a field goal and 3-pointer — that cut the lead to seven, but the Hornets committed two straight turnovers on entry passes and Carlisle and Matthews capitalized to bump the lead to 45-33 with 2:35 remaining.
“We didn’t shoot as much in the last two days. That’s on us (as coaches),” Williams said. “We were more focused on the Xs and Os instead of the thing that got us to this game.”
That the Hornets made it back to the section final is a testament to the resilience of Williams’ squad as they’ve been injury-plagued from preseason until the semifinals.
Natayah Saeturn tore her ACL at the end of volleyball season, sophomore sensation and Shasta County Sports Preseason No. 1 Returner Abby Shoff went down with a season-ending foot injury, Terras battled wrist and ankle troubles and Natalie Mendes went out of Tuesday’s semifinal with what turned out to be an ACL tear.
“We’re proud of the girls, especially with the amount of injuries,” Williams said. “We’re proud they’re even here.”
Enterprise and Pleasant Valley both await their NorCal seed, set for Sunday release. Chico, the No. 2 seed, also will make the NorCal tournament as an at-large berth.
#1 Pleasant Valley 48, #2 Enterprise 33
Enterprise: Saechao 19, K. Mendes 7, Terras 5, Alexander 2.
Pleasant Valley: King 11, Moore 11, Matthews 9, Carlisle 8, Vieg 5, Lindquist 4.
3-pointers—Enterprise 3 (Saechao 2, Terras); Pleasant Valley 2 (King, Carlisle).
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