Top-seeded West Valley blows out Paradise for trip to D-IV finals
For every high school basketball player, a chance to play in the section championship game is what it’s all about. The West Valley Eagles are traveling to Butte College Friday night for their first D-IV Section title game since 2009.
West Valley High’s Sean Proscher, pictured from earlier this season, dropped 25 points to lead the Eagles to a Northern Section Division IV semifinal victory over Paradise. (Photo by T.J. Holmes/Shasta County Sports)
COTTONWOOD – For every high school basketball player, a chance to play in the section championship game is what it’s all about. The West Valley Eagles are traveling to Butte College Friday night for their first D-IV Section title game since 2009.
Wednesday night’s Division IV playoff matchup between top-seeded West Valley and No.4 seed Paradise saw the Eagles jump out to an early double-digit lead and never look back as they topped Paradise 69-46. All Shasta County Sports playoff coverage is presented by Redding Rancheria.
Paradise dropped to Division IV play rather than Division III, as part of the aftermath from the Camp Fire in November. It is the Bobcats first 20-win season in nine years and first winning season under head Coach Jerry Cleek. After a dismantling of No. 5 Gridley (67-44), the Bobcats knew they were going on the road for a tough matchup against the higher-seeded Eagles.
West Valley would open the game on a 10-2 run. A 3-pointer from the corner from Logan Scholberg got the Eagles offense going. That was followed by a mid-range jumper from Lambert Salvatierra, a putback layup by Scholberg, a pair of free-throws, and a 3 by Sean Proscher. At the end of the first quarter West Valley led 28-16.
“The key tonight is we shot the ball really well in the first half. We have been struggling are past five or six games at home and we got off to bad starts,” said West Valley coach James O’Brien said. “Tonight was the complete opposite, we came out and hit are first couple of shots right away and things kept clicking from there.”
The second quarter it seemed like all the shots were falling as West Valley would extend their lead 45-26 as they headed into intermission.
“They’re just a really good team, they play together, shoot the ball well, and play smart,” said Paradise head coach Jerry Cleek.
The second half Paradise couldn’t pull within single digits due in part of West Valley’s tight defense. The Eagles would allow only 11 points in the third and nine in the fourth to keep the Bobcats from cutting into the lead. West Valley would go on to win 69-46 and advance to the Division IV Section title game.
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Sean Proscher, coming off a 22-point and 13-rebound game in the second round win over Colusa, led the way for West Valley with 25 points. Mike Smith followed that with 12 points and six rebounds. Point guard Salvatierra chipped in with nine points and seven assists.
“We knew Paradise was going to come out and play, they’re a tough team. We hit some big shots and that helped us jump out to an early lead and we built from there,” said Proscher. “Now we need to carry the momentum over and keep it up on Friday night.”
For the Bobcats, it just couldn’t keep up with the top-seeded Eagles. The Bobcats played hard but trailed by double-digits early and couldn’t get back into the game. They were led by 5-foot, 10-inch senior guard Joe Lawrie who had 12 points.
“It was an unbelievable season and I never would of thought what these kids have done,” Jerry Cleek said about Paradises first 20-win season since 2010-11 and in the wake of a tragedy in their town.
#1 West Valley 69, #4 Paradise 46
#4 Paradise (21-8): Lawrie 12, Mckay 10, Baker 10, Rice 7, Baber 4, Cline 3.
#1 West Valley (23-6): Proscher 25, Smith 12, Chan 10, Salvatierra 9, Scholberg 6, Larkins 5, Francescut 2
3-Pointers—Paradise 3 (Lawrie 2, Rice); West Valley 8 (Proscher 4, Scholberg 2, Chan, Salvatierra).
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