Viking guard Cody Hamilton drives to the hoop for a lay up over Shasta’s Armal Dhinsa during the Wednesday playoff game at Pleasant Valley. (Matt Bates — Chico Enterprise-Record)
By Will Denner, Chico Enterprise-Record
CHICO — Nine days without playing a game left the Pleasant Valley boys basketball team wondering how it would start against a red-hot Shasta squad in the Northern Section semifinals.
Within the first 90 seconds of Wednesday’s game at Varley Gym, the Vikings dispelled any uncertainty they previously had.
PV got off to a quick 8-0 run with three layups from Cody Hamilton and another from Tyler Otterlei in transition, prompting Shasta head coach Jordan Freilich to call a timeout with 6 minutes, 34 seconds still left on the first-quarter clock.
“They just came out extremely sharp,” Freilich said. “They’re very talented, they’re extremely well-coached, and they were ready to play. And that was pretty apparent. First 90 seconds, we kind of had to rally the troops and get them back together, but that was a great start for (PV).”
By halftime, the Vikings had built a 42-19 lead and seemingly had an answer for every run Shasta threatened to expand on in the third quarter. PV went on to win 78-59 and earn a trip to Redding for the section championship game against Foothill, to be played Saturday evening at Shasta College. All Shasta County Sports playoff coverage presented by Redding Rancheria.
“Our coach told us to come out strong and that’s what we did. We just rode it the rest of the game,” Hamilton said.
Leading scorers Hamilton (24) and Daniel Montoya (19) combined to hit nine of the Vikings’ 10 made 3-pointers, and Otterlei added 16 points. The Wolves got 13 points apiece from Simon Turner and JT Beasley, while Caden Turner chipped in 12.
The Vikings’ start set the tone for the rest of the evening, but their finishing of quarters was equally important. After scoring only one basket over the first three minutes of the second period, PV rollicked into halftime on a 20-4 run.
Montoya scored a layup at the 5-minute mark, then 20 seconds later Treyson Keating swatted a Shasta layup off the glass, leading to an Otterlei layup on the other end. Then Montoya scored the Vikings’ next eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Baskets from Simon Turner and Beasley trimmed the Vikings’ lead to 36-19, before Keating hit a 3 with just under a minute left, and Montoya spotted up for another one right before the first-half buzzer.
HALF: Pleasant Valley 42, Shasta 19. Vikings wind down the clock and get a 3-pointer from Daniel Montoya to drop just before the buzzer. Hamilton leads PV with 14 and Montoya has 13 — all scored in the 2Q. Caden Turner leads Shasta with 7. pic.twitter.com/W4eFJMEBEK
— Will Denner (@WillCDenner) February 21, 2019
“I thought we did a lot of great things tonight,” PV head coach Tim Keating said. “I thought we were very unselfish, we shared the ball and we found guys that were open. We were willing to make the extra pass, guys had very open looks and we hit them.”
With under three minutes to play in the third quarter, Cushman drilled a shot from deep, Cade Corontzos hit a pair of free throws and Beasley converted a layup to put the Wolves at a 53-37 deficit — their closest since midway through the second quarter.
But the Vikings scored on their following three possessions and took a 60-43 lead into the fourth quarter. That, combined with a couple Montoya 3s to begin the final frame, put the game out of reach.
“I thought our guys competed well, I’m proud of that, but ultimately we lost the first four minutes and that was the game,” Freilich said.
The Vikings outscored the Wolves in all but one quarter, and held them to eight in the second. This despite playing only seven players — starters Hamilton, Otterlei, Montoya, Treyson Keating and Colton Whittaker, plus reserves Aaron Gomez and Eli Thomas — until late in the fourth quarter.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Tim Keating said. “They were prepared to play this game. I was a little worried about the layoff … because Shasta is a good team. Jordan is a great coach, he’s a good friend of mine that’s a great team. I thought our defense just slowed down a very good team — a team that was probably the hottest in the section, I thought.”
Pleasant Valley 78, Shasta 59
Shasta * 11 * 8 * 24 * 16 * — * 59
PV * 20 * 22 * 18 * 18 * — * 78
Shasta — Beasley 13, S. Turner 13, C. Turner 12, Cushman 8, Sahota 6, Corontzos 4, Tuggle 3.
PV — Hamilton 24, Montoya 19, Otterlei 16, Keating 9, Gomez 6, Whittaker 2, Thomas 2.
3-point goals — Shasta 4 (C. Turner 2, Cushman, Beasley), PV 10 (Montoya 5, Hamilton 4, Keating).