Foothill’s Beckdoo Lewis (seen at Harlan Carter) led the Cougars with 21 points in their 65-53 road win over Shasta on Thursday. (Photo by Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports)
There’s a 1954 book called “How to Lie with Statistics.” The premise is that numbers can, at times, be distorted and twisted to tell half-truths and partial stories.
There was no stretching the truth Thursday to the fact that the stat sheet said the Foothill boys basketball team outrebounded Shasta 36-18 in a 65-53 Eastern Athletic League win at Harlan Carter Gym. The other telling stat was that the Cougars made as many free throws as the Wolves had boards.
Two nights after escaping with a 45-42 overtime win over Enterprise in the EAL opener, Foothill (14-5, 2-0) left little doubt as to the outcome against Shasta.
The Cougars came out hot with Josiah Hutt setting the tone early with a deep 3-pointer from the left wing. He’d hit another deep triple a few minutes later with Shasta’s Caden Turner in his hip pocket as the Cougars led 13-8 five minutes into the game. Meanwhile, the Wolves were staying close with smoke and mirrors despite a poor shooting first half. Caden Cushman had an old-fashioned 3-point play, Turner hit one of three 3-pointers the Wolves would sink in the first half, and Dilraj Sahota would hit a bucket and three freebies as Foothill led 15-11 after the first stanza.
JT Beasley, who as in early foul trouble, hit a trey to open the second period and the Wolves trailed 15-14. It was as close as they’d get all night. Bekdoo Lewis, the lanky Foothill junior dropped the next five points on two free throws and his own 3-pointer before Hutt again dropped a 25-foot 3-pointer, again with Turner in his jersey.
The Wolves would cut the halftime edge to three points – 28-25 – on Turner’s trey at the buzzer as Shasta coach Jordan Freilich said he felt fortunate to hit intermission within one possession.
“We thought if we could get some rebounds, offensively and defensively, that we were in a pretty fortunate spot to only be down three,” the Wolves coach said.
The problem for the Wolves wasn’t necessarily their cold shooting – they were 3-of-12 from distance in the first half and 8-for-28 from the field overall – it was that they only had five second-chance opportunities.
“They dominated the boards,” Freilich said.
Something that Lewis said was the key to Foothill controlling the second half and the game.
“Coach said (at half) the team that gets the most rebounds in the second half is going to win,” the 6-5 junior said.
Four Cougars had at least seven rebounds (Lewis, Hutt, Lindsey and Josiah Palumbo), while Shasta’s leading rebounder was Cade Corontzos with four.
Hot shooting didn’t hurt either as Lewis opened a sloppy third period with a deep 3-pointer from near the 10-foot volleyball line, but the first four minutes of the period were a series of misses as the Cougars led 33-30 with just under 5 minutes to play in the period.
And then it became a game of H-O-R-S-E as Luke Lindsey hit a trey for Foothill only to have Sahota answer back. Lindsey would hit a runner in the lane and Cushman would reply with a 10-footer near the elbow. Foothill led 44-35, but the Wolves again hit a 3-pointer before the buzzer, this one from Sahota, who led Shasta with 14 points and the Cougars carried a 44-38 led into the final eight minutes.
But Foothill quickly staunched any momentum the Wolves had or wanted – despite Hutt scoring just three points into the fourth quarter. Hutt opened the fourth-quarter scoring before Turner’s 3-pointer at the 7-minute mark. But that’s the last points the Wolves would score for more than three and a half minutes as Foothill raced its lead from 46-41 to 58-41 in that period.
“We actually called a couple of plays that we ran really well, some of the first times all year that we’ve run those specials well and got some guys open and they hit some big shots,” Foothill coach Bill Elliott said. “Because we have multiple guys who can shoot the ball, we’re sometimes a little harder to defend because you’re guessing who we’re going to go to. We hit some big shots at the right time.”
Those guys were Lewis with a 3-pointer, Linsdey with two free throws, Lewis with a putback, Lindsey with a triple and two from the charity stripe. Lewis finished with a game-high 21 points, while Hutt added 19 and Lindsey chipped in 19.
The Wolves would make one last gasp as Armal Dhinsa hit two 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, but it only cut the Cougars’ edge to 11 and Foothill hit 7-of-10 free downs the stretch.
“We’re normally a second-half team, but we really didn’t play with enough fire,” Beasley said. “They definitely won the 50/50 battle and they killed us on the boards. Those 3s (by Dhinsa) helped, but it seemed like if it wasn’t going in, they were getting the rebound. If they didn’t make it on offense, they were getting it until they did make it.”
Foothill – 15, 13, 16, 21 – 65
Shasta – 11, 14, 13, 15 – 53
Foothill – Gordon 2, Palumbo 7, Lindsey 16, Hutt 19, Lewis 21.
Shasta – S. Turner 1, Dhinsa 6, Beasley 10, Cushman 10, C. Turner 12, Sahota 14.
3-pointers – Foothill: 9 – Lindsey (2), Lewis (3), Hutt (4); Shasta: 11 – Beasley (2), Dhinsa (2), C. Turner (3), Sahota (4).