The West Valley boys basketball team played even with Shasta for 29 minutes in the final non-league tuneup prior to Eastern Athletic and Northern Athletic leagues commencing on Thursday.
The Wolves, however, used a 13-0 run over a three-minute stretch in the third period to put the Eagles at arm’s length to walk away with a 52-43 win at Harlan Carter Gymnasium on Tuesday.
West Valley – playing its second game without All-Section senior Sean Proscher, out for the season with a torn ACL – trailed from the onset, but kept within striking distance throughout the first half. JT Beasley’s two free throws gave Shasta a 13-4 lead at the 3:20 mark of the first period before 6-4 post Anthony Rogers scored down low and added one of two freebies on the ensuing Eagles possession to cut the edge to 13-7 45 seconds later. Rogers finished with a game-high 15 points.
West Valley would trim the lead to 17-13, then 17-15 before Jacob Singleton and Dilraj Sahota scored to bump the Wolves’ lead back to 21-15 with 3 left to play in the half. But a 3-pointer from Jackson Walker, a bucket by JV callup James Salvatierra and a Ben Brindley deuce knotted the halftime score at 22.
“We definitely didn’t play a lot of that (defense) in the first half,” Shasta coach Jordan Freilich said. “Lost guys, assignments …”
Things looked promising for the hosts out of the locker room with a Beasley bucket off a Sahota assist, but Walker answered with a left-wing triple to give West Valley its first lead, 25-24, 30 seconds into the half.
Yet, when Sahota, who finished with a team-high 13, hit a 3-ball from the right win with 7:01 on the third-period clock it started a 15-2 run over the next four minutes that ended with a 39-27 Shasta lead and breathing room for the Wolves.
They made the bucket and we made a three and then we went on three or four minute drought,” West Valley coach James O’Brien said. “We called a timeout when it (the run) was at seven points and tried to make an adjustment defensively.
“But really the biggest problem was, Shasta made some plays in their offense, but it was really our bad offense that led to a lot of their (easy) buckets. They started trapping and we’d pick up our dribble and throw the ball away that led to easy breakouts and easy buckets for them.”
The Eagles were 0-for-8 from the field during the Shasta run as Singleton, Sahota, Dhinsa did the offensive damage – much of it in transition.
“This is the second game without Sean and he was a large part of our offense,” O’Brien said. “When we were struggling they looked to Sean to get us a bucket and now we don’t have that luxury any more and so it’ll have to fall on some other guys.
“Tonight we couldn’t find the right guy to make the right shot at the right time.”
And while Freilich was happy to get a win – especially given the Eagles beat Shasta twice last year in preseason – he said the Wolves must raise their level as EAL play opens Thursday against Chico.
“In the third quarter we played better defense, which got us out in transition more,” Freilich said. “It provides us some breathing room. Credit to West Valley, they were ready to play tonight and we weren’t.
“If we play like this, we’re going to get eaten up (in the EAL).”
A Hayden Boyes triple got West Valley within seven and the third ended with Shasta up 39-32.
In the fourth, Singleton and Simon Turner, who finished with 11 rebounds, pounded the ball down low and Dhinsa, Sahota and Beasley finished with points from the outside and charity stripe. The closest the Eagles would get would be 49-41 after Salvatierra’s triple with 1 minute left in the contest.
Shasta hosts Chico at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the EAL opener, while West Valley hosts Anderson on Thursday in the NAL opener for both.
West Valley – 10-12-10-11-43
Shasta – 15-7-17-13-52
Eagles (6-7) – Boyes 5, Francescut 5, Salvatierra 5, Walker 6, Brindley 7, Rogers 15.
Wolves (13-5) – Weaver 1, Turner 8, Beasley 8, Dhinsa 10, Singleton 12, Sahota 13.
3-pointers – WV – 6: Boyes, Francescut, Salvatierra, Brindley, Walker (2); SHS – 2: Sahota, Dhinsa.
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