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Hot start, finish propel Shasta to 53-43 home win over Red Bluff

Shasta's Taryn Giacomelli watches a Red Bluff lob into the paint in the Wolves' 53-43 win over the Spartans at Harlan Carter Gym on Tuesday. (Photo by Aaron Williams / Shasta County Sports)

The Shasta girls basketball team opened Tuesday’s Eastern Athletic League game against Red Bluff on an 18-5 run only to see the lead slip away in the middle quarters.

However, the Wolves closed with an 17-2 run over the final six minutes of the fourth quarter to turn a 41-36 deficit into a 53-43 victory, Shasta’s first in EAL play this season.

“Started out on a good run,” Shasta coach Alicia Dahl said. “Luckily we finished the game strong. Just too many highs and lows, too many runs.”

The Wolves (11-6, 1-1 EAL) started strong on both sides of the ball as Julianna Flores opened the game with a pair of free throws, followed by Ella Rodriguez hitting one of two freebies as getting fouled driving to the hole. Then Ava Jackson hit one of her two 3-pointers and Shasta had opened a quick 6-0 lead two minutes in. They’d boost it to 13-0 before Paige Gorden broke the ice for the Spartans with a low-point bucket at the midway point of the quarter.

Prior to Gorden’s make, Red Bluff (6-11, 0-20 had only attempted three shots due to the Wolves’ pressure forcing the Spartans into five turnovers.

But with that pressure came fouls as Isabelle Smith picked up two in the first four minutes before Jackson was whistled for one and Arielle Patton grabbed two before the end of the first period.

“We started out how we wanted with pressure and then we ran into foul trouble,” Dahl said.

The Wolves took a 19-10 lead into the second period and held a 24-14 lead at the 4:15 mark when Dahl called a timeout after three straight misses from beyond the arc.

The Spartans, however, responded out of the timeout as the visitors reeled off a 10-2 run including two triples from Gordon as Red Bluff cut the lead to 28-24 at intermission.

The Wolves’ shooting woes continued after half as Jackson and Smith missed major minutes with foul trouble. Red Bluff tied the game at 28 as Grace Gallagher hit the front end of two free throws and the Spartans took their first lead with just under five left in the quarter as Frezia Galos hit the back end of her freebies.

With two more buckets tacked on, the Spartans led 33-30 before Taryn Giacomelli and Taylee Currier each drained triples to regain the lead, 36-33, and the Wolves took a 36-35 advantage into the final eight minutes.

But Shasta missed its first four field goal attempts of the period while Red Bluff was hitting its first three shots to take a 41-36 edge with just over 5 minutes left to play. After Alyvia Mackey hit her second 12-footer in as many possession, Dahl called timeout to right her team.

“I told them we have to move the ball at least four times, either inside-out or four times,” she said. When we do that is when we have the best shot. When we look for one-on-ones or the first shot, it’s not our best shot”

The Wolves responded with a Rodriguez basket, followed by a Giacomelli steal leading to a Flores basket in the paint. Following another Red Bluff turnover, Giacomelli found Currier for an old-fashioned three-point play and a 43-41 Wolves lead.

Currier had eight points off the bench as Shasta was led by Rodriguez’s 16 and Flores’ 11.

“She’s great at looking backdoor and seeing the lanes,” Dahl said of the junior Currier. “She attacks and gets to the line. She’s young and just needs to know she’s good.”

Currier hit both ends of the one-and-one on Shasta’s next possession to bump the lead to 45-41 before Flores, Rodriguez and Smith finished off the scoring with the home teams final eight points.

The Wolves host Enterprise on Friday.

Red Bluff – 10-14-11-8-43
Shasta – 19-9-8-17-53
Spartans (6-11, 0-2 EAL) – Gallagher 1, Clement 2, Cottier 2, Galos 3, Stevens 4, Vailette 4, Sarmanto 6, Mackey 10, Gorden 11
Wolves (11-6, 1-1 EAL) – Poletski 3, Giacomelli 3, Smith 4, Currier 8, Jackson 8, Flores 11, Rodriguez 16
3-pointers – RB – 5: Vailette, Mackey, Gorden, Sarmanto (2), ; SHS – 5: Currier, Giacomelli, Rodriguez, Jackson (2).

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly 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, and is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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