Shasta’s Brendan Hoag (seen in a file photo) led the Knights with 15 points in a 60-57 loss to Butte on Saturday. (File photo)
By Aaron Williams
REDDING – After trailing in the free-throw attempt battle all night, the Shasta College men’s basketball team found itself at needing to … miss.
With Butte College leading 60-57 with under 10 seconds remaining, Marco Tapia was fouled with 7.3 seconds left and a chance to ice the game with a pair of freebies. He missed both and the Knights called a timeout. On the ensuing inbounds, Mikey Maasen was fouled near midcourt with 5.1 seconds left and sent to the line in the double bonus.
After missing the first, Maasen needed to carom the free throw off the rim and hope it bounced to a teammate who might find a game-tying 3-point opportunity. Maasen’s intentional miss missed the rim and the Roadrunners inbounded the ball and came away with a hard-fought 60-57 Golden Valley Conference road win on Saturday in the Sierra Pacific Industries College Game of the Week.
“We had not practiced the miss and tip out. I will take the blame for that one,” Knights coach Kele Fitzhugh said of needing to miss and hope. “We thought it might happen (Butte intentionally fouling) and told them when they come to foul you to throw the shot up and we didn’t do that.”
That the Knights were in the contest at the end was a testament to Shasta’s determination, the coach said.
Butte led 36-32 at the half and the Roadrunners never had a lead bigger than 10, but the majority of the visitor’s offense was fueled from the charity stripe. Butte was 12-of-16 from the free throw line in the first half – 20-of-32 overall, while the Knights shot fewer charity attempts in the game (15) than the Roadrunners did in the first 20 minutes.
“You know, at one time probably 70 percent of their points were from the free throw line,” Fitzhugh said. “I know nine of their points came from questionable fouls on 3-point tries.”
Noah Zoppi led the Roadrunners with 18 points, including 10 points on 11 attempts from the free throw line.
“It’s the GVC and you know everyone is battling,” said Kehmarr McMillian, who finished with 16 points for Butte. “We knew nothing was going to be easy, especially in their house.”
The Roadrunners led 43-33 with 12 minutes remaining after Eric Boose’s low-post basket. But Shasta kept grinding, trimming the lead to 47-41 at the 9-minute mark on a Elijah Ramirez bucket. Tanner Bidwell’s 3-pointer near the 5-minute mark pulled Shasta within one at 49-48, but Jaime Ochoa answered on the next Butte possession with a free-throw line jumper.
Shasta would take its first lead since the first half, 52-51, on two free throws from Ramirez after being fouled in the paint on an inbounds play with 3 minutes remaining.
But the Roadrunners countered with an Ochoa trey from the left corner and a McMillian layup after a steal of Shasta’s Maasen to put Butte up 56-52 with just over 2 minutes remaining.
“They could’ve quit; they never quit and came back and gave themselves opportunities,” Shasta’s Fitzhugh said of his squad. “I told them that in close games it comes down to who makes the shot and who misses the shot. That was a big three that No. 3 (Ochoa) hit at the end and we weren’t able to recover.”
Brendan Hoag tried to keep the Knights in the game, scoring Shasta’s next five on an and-one and left-handed hook in the paint that cut Butte’s lead to 58-57 before McMillian hit two freebies to give the Roadrunners their winning margin.
Butte – 36-24 – 60
Shasta – 32-25 – 57
Butte: Boose 4, Marbley 4, Kettle 7, Ochoa 11, McMillian 16, Zoppi 18
Shasta: Maasen 3, Chao 3, Guinn 6, Ramirez 6, Plunkitt 7, Guzzon 7, Bidwell 10, Hoag 15.
3-pointers – Butte: 4 -McMillian, Kettle, Zoppi (2), Ochoa (2); Shasta: 6 – Maasen, Guzzon, Bidwell (2), Guinn (2).
JC Women’s Basketball
Shasta 76, Butte 58
The Knights had five players in double figures as Shasta raced to a 22-7 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Mari Fernandez led all scorers with 22 points, while teammates Jordan Martinez added 14, Keeley Tuggle and Kayla Bonomini each dropped 13, and Justyse Cooper poured in 10.
Chava Rivers led the Roadrunners with 18 points and Samantha Caires added 13.
Butte – 7, 18, 8, 25 – 58
Shasta – 22, 17, 14, 23 – 76
Butte: Walker 3, Kinney 3, Pevehouse 3, Crininger 5, Knutson 6, Horn 7, Caires 13, Rivers 18
Shasta: McIntosh 2, Copello 2, Cooper 10, Bonomini 13, Tuggle 13, Martinez 14, Fernandez 22
3-pointers – Butte: 8 – Horn, Pevehouse, Caires (3), Rivers (3); Shasta: 10 – Martinez (2), Fernandez (2), Tuggle (3), Bonomini (3).