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Foothill varsity players return after 17-day COVID layoff, beat Shasta 42-34 in sloppy game

Foothill's Nick Dore dribbles up court against Shasta's Jacob Merrill in Friday's 42-34 Cougars win at Harlan Carter Gym. The Cougars' varsity players had been on a 17-day COVID layoff. Dore scored 12 for Foothill in the win. (Photo by T.J. Holmes / Shasta County Sports)

It’s been 17 days since Foothill’s varsity unit – or most of it, anyways – stepped on the court for a basketball game. A COVID quarantine sidelined the Cougars after their April 27 game with Red Bluff. Friday, the main unit of the Foothill program bumped its mark to 2-0 with an ugly 42-34 win over Shasta. Overall, Foothill is 2-2 after a mix of junior varsity call-ups and football players filled in while the quarantine was in effect.

Senior Nick Dore led the Cougars’ return with 12 points as Foothill hit 7-of-9 free throws down the stretch to thwart a Shasta (1-4) comeback attempt.

A sloppy first half had Foothill up 19-14 at intermission as Matthew Schmitt capitalized on one of nine first-half turnovers on Shasta’s final possession to turn what could’ve been a tie game into the five-point halftime edge.

Following the break, neither team could break free in the third period as the squads combined for 12 points – Shasta shot 2-of-12 from the field while Foothill was 1-of-7 as the Cougars held the football-like 24-21 edge heading into the final eight minutes of play.

Shasta’s Layton Dunlap goes up for two of this eight points in the Wolves’ 42-34 loss to Foothill on Friday. (Photo by T.J. Holmes / Shasta County Sports)

Shasta’s Isiah Thao who played with a bandage on his chin after a first-half collision, put the Wolves in striking distance with an old-fashioned 3-point play one minute into the fourth quarter. But the home team could solve its turnover problem. Jacob Merrill  stole the ball after Thao’s bucket and free throw, but was whistled for traveling. This led to a low-post bucket by Cody Corder, who was fouled by missed the freebie to boost the Cougars’ edge to 28-24.

PHOTO GALLERY: 25 photos from Foothill-Shasta

Jacob Singleton, who scored a game-high 15 for Shasta, converted down low to trim the lead to 2, but an addition to the Cougars’ roster in Fall River transfer Royce Knoch provided a spark as the former Bulldog nailed a trey to put Foothill up five. After a Singleton bucket on an inbounds play, Dore worked to clean up a Schmitt miss one possession later and the Cougars’ lead was back to five half way through the frame.

Video by Tracy Holmes/Shasta County Sports

Shasta would twice cut the edge to three – once on Singleton’s drive down the left side of the lane and the other on Layton Dunlap’s putback – but Dore, Knoch, Keaton Micelli and Hunter Edwards combined for the seven freebies over the final 3:14 to keep the Wolves at bay.

Foothill – 10, 9, 5, 18 – 42
Shasta – 6, 8, 7, 13 – 34
Cougars – Micelli 1, Corder 2, Maasen 3, Sain 3, Knoch 6, Edwards 6, Schmitt 9, Dore 12.
Wolves – Merrill 2, Dutro 2, Thao 3, Foster 4, Dunlap 8, Singleton 15.
3-pointers: FHS (3) – Knoch, Sain, Dore; SHS (0).

Shasta’s Jacob Singleton goes up against Foothill’s Cody Corder in the Wolves’ 42-34 loss on Friday. Singleton scored a game-high 15 points in the loss. (Photo by T.J. Holmes / Shasta County Sports)

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for more than two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. Williams has coached various sports at the high school level over the past decade, most recently at Shasta High.

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