Foothill High’s Josiah Hutt goes up for a shot defended by Enterprise High’s Leslie Cummings during Tuesday night’s Eastern Athletic League opener at Foothill High School. (Photo by Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)
PALO CEDRO – Foothill might be the favorite in the Eastern Athletic League entering Tuesday’s league-opener with rival Enterprise but the Cougars got a bit of a wake-up call.
Trailing by 3 with 4.1 seconds left in overtime, Enterprise freshman Demarreya Lewis-Cooper stole the inbound pass under the hoop, rushed out to the top of the key but his shot was wide and Foothill escaped with a 45-42 home victory Tuesday night at The Palace.
“Everyone comes ready to play in league,” said Foothill’s Luke Lindsey, who led the Cougars with 17 points. “We’re the team to beat right now. It’s fun but we have to perform every game. We can’t come in with our head down and not prepared.”
Lindsey’s pull-up 3-pointer with 2:47 left in the fourth gave Foothill (13-5, 1-0 EAL) its first lead in nearly eight minutes at 38-36. Lewis-Cooper later drained a 3 to cut the deficit to 1 but Enterprise’s Leslie Cummings was called for a moving screen with 7.4 left. Cummings stole the cross-court inbound heave on the ensuing possession, pushed the ball up to Khristian Clements, who was fouled attacking the basket with 0.4 left.
Clements missed the first free throw but made the second to force the extra period. In overtime, Enterprise (7-10, 0-1 EAL) didn’t record a field goal and went the final 5:14 of the game without a made shot from the field.
Hunter Edwards set up Lindsey for a 3 early in the extra time and Lindsey and Edwards each hit a free throw to build a 45-40 lead. Clements knocked down both freebies with 4.1 remaining to cut it to three. The double inbound pass went from Hutt to Edwards and into the hands of Lewis-Cooper. The freshman kept his composure and raced to the 3-point line, pump faked to send Lindsey flying by, but his shot was off the mark.
“I told him that if he got the ball he has to go to the 3 (point line) to shoot it,” Enterprise coach Jim Deaver said. “I’m really proud of our kids. I don’t say that very much after a loss but I am.”
Adam Shoff led Enterprise with 17 points, hitting five 3s and Clements pitched in with 16 points. But it was the Hornet defense – paced by Cummings – that surprised the crowd, holding Shasta County’s leading scorer Josiah Hutt to four total points with his last bucket coming with 5:47 left in the second period.
“We played ball control on offense so they don’t get the ball on their end,” Deaver said. “If we have the ball, they can’t score.
“I think the kids believe they can play with anyone right now.”
With Hutt a non-factor and Enterprise guarding against transition buckets to prevent a fast Foothill squad to run, the Cougars struggled to find scoring. As Foothill coach Bill Elliott said, “an ugly win is better than an ugly loss.” But the Cougars shot 6 of 17 from the free throw line, including 1 of 6 in overtime, and didn’t produce to their ability.
“They were very physical to us and we didn’t adjust,” Elliott said.
Lindsey scored 17 points to lead the way for Foothill with Bekdoo Lewis the next guy in line with seven points, five coming in the opening quarter. The games don’t get any easier in the EAL but the Cougars learned a valuable lesson to not come in overconfident against anyone, especially a rival.
“Every team in league is going to fight you tough; they know who you are and know your tendencies,” Elliott said. “League is a different animal so we got lucky to get away with this one but have to be better in the future.”
Foothill 45, Enterprise 42 (OT)
Enterprise (7-10, 0-1 EAL): Shoff 17, Clements 16, Lewis-Cooper 3, Fuller 2, Cummings 2, B. Ramirez 2.
Foothill (13-5, 1-0 EAL): Lindsey 17, Lewis 7, Palumbo 6, Putnam 6, Hutt 4, Rossman 2, Gordon 2, Edwards 1.
3-pointers—Enterprise 6 (Shoff 5, Lewis-Cooper 1); Foothill 3 (Lindsey 2, Lewis 1).