Caden Turner goes up for two of his 19 points on Saturday in Shasta’s 48-54 Dennis Byrnum title win over Paradise. (Photo courtesy of Rod White)
The strategy was simple … don’t let Joe Lawrie beat you. The Shasta boys basketball team was clinging to a 56-53 lead over Paradise with 11.9 seconds left in the title game of the Dennis Byrnum title game at Oroville High School. Shasta’s Caden Turner had just connected on both ends of a one-and-one to put Shasta up by three as the Wolves called timeout to finalize their strategy.
That plan of action called for fouling someone not named Joe Lawrie before the Bobcats’ sharpshooter could get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer.
After all, the Paradise senior had already buried six from distance, including one from the 10-foot line on the volleyball court and another ridiculous one from heat-check territory.
So the Wolves fouled Lleyton Rice as he crossed midcourt and sent him to the charity stripe for a one-and-one with 7.1 left in the game. Rice would make the front end as Diraj Sahota grabbed the board off the second miss and salted the game with both ends of his one-and-one to give Shasta a 58-54 tournament title on Saturday heading into league.
After a blistering first quarter that saw Shasta take a 17-8 lead, the Bobcats roared back to cut the halftime edge to 25-23. JT Beasley paced Shasta with nine in the half, while Nicholas Baker led the Bobcats with eight and Lawrie had already canned two 3-pointers.
Lawrie would give the Bobcats their first lead of the game three minutes into a frenetic third period as he hit a trey from the right wing to give Paradise a 29-27 edge. He added to the lead on the next Bobcats’ next possession with a heat-check triple that got a rise from the Paradise faithful.
“He hit some unbelievable shots, he’s a great shooter,” Shasta coach Jordan Freilich said. “We’ve got to contest. If he gets across halfcourt, we’ve got to contest.”
And then things got weird. Shasta’s Simon Turner brought the Wolves back within two with an old-fashioned three-point play before Caden Turner stole the ball on the ensuing Paradise possession. Lawrie was called for an intentional foul and while Caden Turner was at the line a technical foul was assessed on JT Beasley as . Turner misses both of his free throws, while Lawrie made his and the Bobcats, instead of the Wolves, got possession.
“I don’t know if there was one play that felt like there was a turning point,” Freilich said. “We didn’t hang our heads, so that’s a turning point.”
But the Bobcats couldn’t really capitalize on their turn of fortune, and despite going up five at one point in the quarter, quickly found themselves down 44-39 at the end of the period as Beasley canned two triples, Sahota buried a jumped and Caden Turner ended the period with a jumped from the wing.
The Wolves would make it a 14-point swing after Beasley’s two free throws with 6:33 left in the contest, but the plucky Bobcats wouldn’t go away. Baker scored on a back-door cut to bring Paradise within five at 48-43 and Lawrie hit another trey, this time from somewhere near Marysville.
Paradise would knot the game at 50 on Jared McKay’s coast-to-coast fast break off a Beasley miss, but Caden Turner found Beasley on a back-door cut to regain the lead, an edge the Wolves would not relinquish.
Paradise – 8, 15, 16, 15 – 54
Shasta – 17, 8, 19, 14 – 58
Paradise – B. Baker 2, Swartz 3, McKay 3, Cline 4, N. Baker 17, Lawrie 22
Shasta – S. Turner 7, Sahota 11, C. Turner 19, Beasley 21.
3-pointers: Paradise: 7 – Swartz, Lawrie (6) ; Shasta: 6 – C. Turner (3), Beasley (3)