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Wolves lean on frontcourt duo Turner, Singleton to down U-Prep 65-59 in Hornet Classic semis

Shasta’s JT Beasley, Armal Dhinsa and Dilraj Sahota may be on everyone’s radar in Shasta County. But Simon Turner and Jacob Singleton are forming a frontcourt that’s tough to crack.

Turner and Singleton used their strength and aggression around the rim to fuel a second-half surge, helping lift Shasta to a 65-59 victory over neighboring U-Prep on Friday in a semifinal of the 23rd Jamie Angley Hornet Classic at Enterprise High’s Manatowa Gymnasium.

The Wolves’ duo may not look the part or be recognized off the court as rising hoop stars. But if they continue to control the game in the paint then nothing else really matters.

“Those guys get every ounce out of their size and have good hands and good feet,” said Shasta coach Jordan Freilich. “We have to get better at getting them the ball and getting them more scoring opportunities and I think we’re starting to figure that out.”

A hot-shooting first quarter from U-Prep got Shasta on the run early thanks to eight points in the opening stanza from Kevin Cox for a 20-16 lead. Cox’s 14 points paced the Panthers, who had three others in double figures: Trevor Jones (13), Aiden Lipman (11) and Tanner Stephens (10). U-Prep won on the glass, pulling down eight offensive rebounds — 19 total — compared to Shasta’s eight boards. But the second-chance opportunities didn’t always translate into points, letting the Wolves stay close.

Lipman’s and-1 early in the second put U-Prep up five but the Panthers only had two more field goals the rest of the quarter. That opened the door for Sahota’s 3 and Singleton’s putback to pull Shasta within one. Stephens’ putback inside of 1:30 on the clock gave U-Prep a 30-23 advantage but the Wolves scored the next six points — all in the paint — with Singleton bullying his way inside twice followed by Beasley’s lay-in to leave U-Prep ahead 30-29 at the break.

The aggression swung the momentum in the Wolves favor for good.

“They have a couple of big strong kids and we don’t have that much weight up front,” said U-Prep coach Mark Stephens. “We’re taller but they’re wider and stronger and I think their physicality got to us.”

Beasley’s reverse layup 38 seconds into the second half put Shasta ahead for the first time. The lead flipped four more times in the quarter, once on Stephens converting a steal into a layup followed by Turner’s putback to put Shasta ahead 37-36. Later in the period U-Prep capitalized on Sahota’s foul and technical foul to swing a five-point possession as Logan Hawes split 2 of his 4 free throws followed by Lipman’s 3. But Beasley drained a downtown dagger from the top of the key to go up 48-46 entering the fourth.

That’s when Shasta’s bigs went to work.

Turner’s and-1 early put Shasta ahead four, using his wide athletic frame to take advantage of a bad defensive rotation for 2. Jones’ jumper tied it at 53 but U-Prep couldn’t keep possessions alive with Turner and Singleton bodying everyone under the rim. Singleton scored 15 points and Turner 13, both adding seven boards. Beasley chipped in with 15 points and Sahota tallied 11.

“We go through that a lot in practice, a lot of aggressive rebounding, posting up and one-on-one,” said Turner. “We have this drill called ‘cut throat’ and there’s hardly any fouls called so you have to go at it.”

James Weaver’s old-fashioned three-point play gave the Wolves the lead for good. Turner banked in a close-range turnaround and Singleton split a pair of free throws to keep Shasta up five. But Lipman grabbed a rebound and swished a 3 from the right wing to make it a one possession game with 54 ticks left.

Beasley drove the baseline and got a contested floater to trickle over the rim while surrounded by all five Panthers with 33 seconds left and Hawes could get a 3 to fall. Singleton buried a pair of freebies in the final seconds and Shasta captures its seventh win in the past eight games.

Not only is it the tournament final but it’s against crosstown rival Enterprise, which edged Shasta in a 59-56 thrilling contest on the same court in the Harlan Carter semifinals in the opening weekend of the season.

“It’s going to be fun,” Freilich said. “If you’re going to be somewhere on a Saturday after Christmas you might as well be in the championship game.”

U-Prep 20-10-16-13–59
Shasta 16-13-19-15–65
U-Prep (8-6): Cox 14, Jones 13, Lipman 11, Stephens 10, Hawes 9, Team 2.
Shasta (9-5): Singleton 15, Beasley 15, Turner 13, Sahota 11, Dhinsa 6, Weaver 3, Dunlap 2.
3-pointers–U-Prep 7: Cox (2), Lipman (2), Jones (2), Stephens (1); Shasta 3: Beasley (2), Sahota (1).

TOURNAMENT UPDATE

FRIDAY SCORES
Consolation semis
West Valley 53, Tokay 50
River Valley 80, McKinleyville 34
Semifinals
Enterprise 52, River City 40
Shasta 65, U-Prep 59
SATURDAY MATCHUPS
7th: Tokay vs. McKinleyville, 1 p.m.
5th: West Valley vs. River Valley, 2:30 p.m.
3rd: U-Prep vs. River City, 4 p.m.
1st: Enterprise vs. Shasta, 5:30 p.m.

OTHER SCORES

Enterprise 52, River City 40

Enterprise advanced to the tournament championship against Shasta set for Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

READ: Hot start propels Enterprise past River City 52-40 and into Angley title game vs. Shasta

West Valley 53, Tokay 50

The Eagles won the second quarter 16-4 and held on to win despite Tokay outscoring the Eagles 19-11 in the final period.

West Valley had a balanced scoring night with Sean Proscher and Colton Raudman each tallying 10 points. Marcus Francescut and Hayden Boyes scored eight points apiece.

Tokay’s Ryker Henne scored 12 points, Nick Merrill had 11 and Hamdallah Elkheidi had 10.

West Valley faces River Valley for fifth place Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Tokay plays for seventh against McKinleyville at 1 p.m.

River Valley 80, McKinleyville 34

The Falcons outscored the Panthers 25-3 in the third quarter in the rout in the consolation semifinal.

All 12 River Valley players scored with Puneet Bains leading the way with 23 points.

McKinleyville only had three players score with Boatright tallying a team-best 14 points.

River Valley plays West Valley for fifth place in the consolation final Saturday at 2:30 p.m. while McKinleyville faces Tokay for seventh place at 1 p.m.

T.J. is a national-award winning journalist passionate about local news and telling the story no one else knows about. He’s roamed sidelines, baselines and bleachers in the North State since 2010 and is a content producer from sunup to sundown. Sports are a hobby he shares with his wife Tracy where they’ve spent many dates around a field or court of some sort.

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