No lead is safe in the gauntlet that is the Golden Valley Conference.
Shasta College trimmed a 15-point third-quarter deficit down to six midway through the fourth quarter but Butte’s defense stiffened up the rest of the way as the Roadrunners won 68-59 Wednesday night. All Knights coverage sponsored by Sierra Pacific Industries.
Elyana Croninger’s rainbow 3 with 3:23 left gave the Roadrunners room to breathe up eight and Shasta managed only one field goal – a 3 from Megan Collins – in the final 3 minutes as the Knights fell short.
“In order for us to win a conference championship and be an elite team we have to grind through ugly wins,” said Butte coach Tyler Newton. “It’s been the strength of this group all year. I know (Shasta coach) Jerry (Brown) does a great job getting his girls prepared and that’s why every game is important and we’re happy to get out of here with a win.”
Video by Tracy Holmes/Shasta County Sports
Croninger’s 19 points was a game-high as GVC-leader Butte also had Samantha Caires in double figures with 12 points.
Shasta (0-7 GVC, 12-12) missed three layups midway through the second quarter, allowing Butte to fire off a 12-0 run. Lena Fogle kicked it off with a 3-pointer from the corner and Chloe Mayer dished to Anna Greenhaw inside on back-to-back possessions before Croninger’s and-1 finished it off for a 35-18 lead.
The Knights cut it to seven by the break, scoring nine straight points to close the half on three straight 3s from Collins, Gabby Rosales and Kali Cummings.
“Everybody in that gym, when we were down by almost 20 that early thought this was going to be a blow out,” Brown said. “Not with how hard these girls play.”
Croninger’s 3 early in the third put Butte up double-digits for the remainder of the third. But Shasta, despite being down 17 early in the fourth, responded with an 11-0 run to get within six. Jenna Wallace scored five of those points, Collins turned a steal into a layup and Jamie Larson’s bucket in the paint made it a two-possession game.
“We had times we were executing in the half-court offense, we just needed to control tempo and not get caught up in letting them do what they wanted,” Brown said.
But the Knights didn’t have enough left down the stretch as the Roadrunner defense led the way to shut down a fatigued Shasta squad, which mainly features six-person rotation for the night.
Shasta had four players in double-figures with Riley Wallen leading the way with 17 points. Wallace scored 13 points, Cummings had 11 and Collins scored 10.
Despite still searching for their first conference win, the Knights are ranked 19th in the North Region and have a shot at climbing into the top 18 for a playoff berth, Brown said. He credits the successful and tough preseason along with the strength of the GVC that could lead to a postseason appearance. With everyone ahead of the Knights on their schedule, one win against a ranked opponent might be enough.
“I just want to pick somebody off,” Brown said.
Butte 68, Shasta 59
Butte (6-1 GVC, 20-5): Croninger 19, Caires 12, Williams 8, Greenhaw 8, Mayer 7, Jones 6, Servin-Smith 5, Fogle 3.
Shasta (0-7 GVC, 12-12): Wallen 17, Wallace 13, Cummings 11, Collins 10, Rosales 6, Larson 2.
3-pointers—Butte 12 (Croninger 3, Caires 2, Jones 2, Williams 2, Mayer, Fogle, Servin-Smith); Shasta 9 (Cummings 3, Collins 2, Rosales 2, Wallace, Wallen).
Team GVC, Overall
Butte 6-1, 20-5
Redwoods 5-1, 17-4
Siskiyous 3-3, 15-9
Lassen 3-4, 18-7
Feather River 3-4, 12-12
Shasta 0-7, 12-12