James Weaver may be the most unlikely subject to rule over Enterprise on the hardwood, even if for a night.
A standout running back on the Shasta football team and defensive stalwart in hoops, Weaver’s best basketball game of his life came at a time the Wolves needed it most.
Weaver poured in a career-high 26 points, swishing the go-ahead 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in overtime and Shasta held on to edge rival Enterprise 71-68 in thrilling fashion Friday night at Harlan Carter Gymnasium.
“I realized it takes extra work after practice, I went to the Y(MCA) to get some extra shots there and in my backyard and that made the difference,” said Weaver, who entered with four points in the first three Enterprise meetings and a season scoring average of 4.3 points.
“In the beginning of the season I was off but I feel like I got my swagger back.”
With the game tied at 66, JT Beasley drove the lane and kicked it out to Weaver on the wing for the downtown bucket. Enterprise’s Demarreya Lewis-Cooper attacked for a layup with 5.4 seconds left to cut it to one.
But Jacob Singleton led Simon Turner breaking to the basket on a three-quarter court pass for a lay-in and Jermaine Mondaine’s potential game-tying half-court buzzer-beater hit off the backboard, sending “The Pit” – Shasta’s student section – into pandemonium at center court.
“We talked about having to win ugly and doing the dirty things, getting on the floor and defensive boards,” Shasta coach Jordan Freilich said. “And we did. We won and it wasn’t that pretty.”
Video by Tracy Holmes/Shasta County Sports
Enterprise (2-6 EAL, 13-12), winners of the previous three meetings this season by a combined 11 points, came out hot as Lewis-Cooper, Mondaine and Brennan Ramirez combined to make their first five shots to jump out to a 15-3 lead. That would be a theme for the night as that trio combined for 65 of Enterprise’s 68 points with Mondaine dropping a career-high 29 points and Lewis-Cooper adding a career-high 28 points.
But Weaver’s mid-range jumper, coffin-corner 3 and transition layup brought Shasta (3-5 EAL, 16-10) back within 17-12 by the end of the opening quarter.
Enterprise kept pace using timely shots from its core trio but Shasta kept responding. Six times the Wolves cut it to a one possession game, four of them coming from the hands of Weaver. Shasta was also efficient from the line, making 12-of-14 foul shots in the first half (19-of-22 in the game) with Weaver’s rare 4-point play tying it at 31 just before half.
The momentum stayed in the Wolves favor in the third quarter when Armal Dhinsa cleaned up a miss with a tip-in to ignite a 10-0 run to close out the period. Weaver hit a 3 and Beasley added a 3 and transition layup for a 48-38 advantage heading into the final stanza.
It took nearly 6 minutes but Enterprise evened it up at 50 and took a one-point lead on Lewis-Cooper’s pair of free throws.
“Our kids didn’t quit and tonight (Shasta) grew up because they didn’t quit either and that’s been the struggle for them,” Enterprise coach Jim Deaver said. “This was another one of those exciting Shasta-Enterprise games that you love.”
Turner tied it at 53 with 1:15 left and both teams turned it over on their ensuing possessions. Lewis-Cooper was fouled on a putback and sank both with 16.9 remaining to go up two.
Enterprise had three fouls to give and chipped away at the clock, preventing Shasta from running a play. But Ramirez fouled Turner on the perimeter to send him to the line for a 1-and-1 with 5.4 ticks left.
“He wasn’t supposed to foul and everyone knew it,” Deaver said. “He said he wasn’t trying to foul but when you foul three times in a row you have to tell (the refs) I’m not going to foul. But it’s not the decider, we could have done more throughout the game so we weren’t in that position.”
Turner sank them both, capitalizing on Enterprise’s mistake and sending the game to overtime.
“We rep that in practice and in high pressure situations in our home gym,” Turner said. “I told myself to get my legs, aim for the back of the rim and get a couple to fall and it happened.”
Down 2 in the extra period, Mondaine and Lewis-Cooper came alive to put the Hornets in position. Lewis-Cooper hit a 3 to tie it at 60 and another to go up 63-62 while Mondaine’s trey put the Hornets up 66-64.
But Turner went inside for 2 and Beasley set Weaver up for the clutch triple from in front of the Shasta bench. Lewis-Cooper made a tough layup over Weaver to pull within one but Turner getting behind the Enterprise defense to run the clock was the back-breaker. The layup was an added bonus.
Despite three losses this season to the Hornets, the league series is split and the Wolves have a one-game lead over their rival with one week left in the season.
“Everyone knows we’ve been in a rut in league but this is huge for momentum, we just have to carry it through for playoffs,” Weaver said.
Shasta 71, Enterprise 68 (OT)
Enterprise (2-6 EAL, 13-12): Mondaine 29, Lewis-Cooper 28, Ramirez 8, Owen 3.
Shasta (3-5 EAL, 16-10): Weaver 29, Turner 16, Beasley 13, Singleton 8, Dhinsa 8,
3-pointers—Enterprise 8 (Lewis-Cooper 4, Ramirez 2, Mondaine 2); Shasta 8 (Weaver 5, Dhinsa 2, Beasley).
Team EAL, Overall
Foothill 7-1, 23-3
Chico 6-2, 15-8
PV 5-3, 14-10
Shasta 3-5, 16-10
Enterprise 2-6, 13-12
Red Bluff 1-7, 5-20