REDDING, Calif. – Shasta College's men's basketball team lost to No. 6 Santa Rosa 75-71 Friday night to open the Shasta Invitational Tournament.
The Knights took a four-point lead late in the game on Michael Plunkitt's fast-break layup off a steal and Tanner Guinn's bucket. But the Bear Cubs closed the game on a 7-1 run in the final 2 minutes to drop Shasta.
"We played hard; it comes down to one shot one way and one shot the other," Shasta College coach Kele Fitzhugh said. "We didn't hit a couple of 3s late and they hit theirs. The shots just didn't fall."
Shasta's Guinn, the lone sophomore on a team full of freshman, scored 21 of his team-high 23 points in the first half, draining four 3-pointers and igniting his team often through the first 20 minutes.
The game was tied at 37 at halftime and Shasta and Santa Rosa traded the lead several times in the second half.
Shasta freshman Zach Thompson ignited a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer and Jalen Evans spun around to lay-in a left-handed shot to take a 57-55 lead with about 10 minutes left. But Santa Rosa's Ryan Perez buried a pair of 3-pointers 2 minutes later. Plunkitt attacked the rim to dish to Evans underneath before stealing the ball and converting it into a layup the other way. Guinn's bucket put Shasta up four.
Santa Rosa answered with Skylar Chavez, who scored all seven of the Bear Cubs' points in the 7-1 stretch that finished off the Knights. He hit a jumper from the elbow to lead by 3 and both ends of a 1-and-1 with 10 seconds left to seal it. The Knights never trailed by more than three points until those free throws went down.
"They're starting to believe in each other," Fitzhugh said of his inexperienced team, which pushed a top-team in the state to the end. "Obviously you always want to win but the big picture is that we were successful tonight because we're making strides."
Chavez scored 36 points to lead Santa Rosa. Shasta's Guinn had six rebounds to go with his 23 points and Evans had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Plunkitt scored nine points off the bench and Thompson added eight points.
Foothill 81, Shasta 61
Shasta College couldn't dig out of its 43-27 halftime deficit to lose in the final game of its tournament on Saturday. The Knights were led by Thompson's 16 points on 7 of 13 shooting and Guinn added 14 points. Evans scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds and Plunkitt scored eight points off the bench and led the Knights with four assists.
Shasta (1-5) plays in the Coach Tregs Classic on Friday, Nov. 30 against Mendocino and Dec. 1 against Southwestern Oregon.