SRJC 62, Feather River College 60
Wednesday night the #15 seeded Bear Cubs (11-15, 6-8) hosted the #18 Feather River Golden Eagles (12-15, 3-7) in the First Round Play-in game of the NorCal Playoffs, with the winner earning the right to play at #2 Diablo Valley College (21-5, 11-3) on Saturday. Both teams finished in Fifth Place in their respective conferences—the Bear Cubs in the Big 8 and the Golden Eagles in the Golden Valley. These two opponents previously faced one another on December 11 in Santa Rosa, with the Golden Eagles winning by a score of 68-51. This time although the Golden Eagles held the lead for almost the entire game, the Bear Cubs were able to battle back and claim the victory.
The visitors scored first after nearly a minute into the game. On the Bear Cubs' next possession, Hanna Morris drew a shooting foul and sank both free throws to tie the score. Over a minute later, Quannah Ryan swished a 3-pointer and followed up with a field goal for a 7-2 lead with 7:10 on the clock. The Bear Cubs scored the next six points on Lizbeth Zavala's two free throws, Trinity Hawkins' 1-footer on a baseline inbounds play, and her driving basket. The Golden Eagles put in two field goals before Amaya Macandog sank two free throws and Hawkins a 10-footer. Ryan's field goal with 1:22 left got the Golden Eagles back in front 13-12.
The Golden Eagles started the second quarter with the ball and quickly drained a 3-pointer. Trinity Hawkins made one of two free throws, and then Ryan hit a 3-pointer. Kassi Agapoff made one of two free throws, and then Precious Masters sank a 3-pointer. Ryan's field goal with 7:07 on the clock gave the Golden Eagles a 24-14 lead. Hawkins scored the Bear Cubs' first field goal of the quarter 15 seconds later after cutting down to the low post and catching the assist pass from Hanna Morris. The Golden Eagles added a 3-pointer and two free throws before Lani Lincoln drove the length of the court and banked in the layup at the 4:53 mark. Eighty-one seconds later, Hawkins did the same thing. The Golden Eagles made two more free throws, and then Amaya Macandog made one. The Golden Eagles scored two field goals in less than a minute for a 35-21 lead. During the final minute of the quarter the Bear Cubs scored six unanswered points on Hanna Morris' putback, Trinity Hawkins' fast break layup, and Lani Lincoln's two free throws with 0.3 seconds left to go into halftime behind 27-35.
The Golden Eagles scored a field goal 1:21 into the third quarter. Eighteen seconds later, after missing all six of her 3-point attempts in the previous two quarters, Lani Lincoln sank her first of the third quarter. The Golden Eagles made one free throw, and then Trinity Hawkins dropped in a pull-up jumper from the middle of the key. Nearly two minutes later, she drew a shooting foul and made both free throws to get to 34-38. The Golden Eagles scored five consecutive points on Serena Sanchez-Gardipe's 3-pointer and field goal. Then the Bear Cubs responded with Lincoln's 3-pointer and Hawkins' two free throws, making the score 39-43. In the final four minutes of the quarter Hawkins sank two more free throws, while the Golden Eagles tallied three field goals to widen their lead to 49-41 by the end of the period.
Lani Lincoln took the Bear Cubs' first shot of the fourth quarter and swished the 3-pointer on a baseline inbounds play. Over two scoreless minutes went by then Trinity Hawkins sank a 15-footer to close the gap to 46-49. The Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run until Lizbeth Zavala swished a 3-pointer on a baseline inbounds play with 3:43 on the clock. During the Bear Cubs' next two possessions Amaya Macandog drew a shooting foul on a drive and sank both free throws, then made a layup to get to 53-56 at the 2:53 mark. The Golden Eagles scored on a putback with 2:01 left. Trinity Hawkins drew a shooting foul and made just the first free throw. Following a Golden Eagles' miss, Kassi Agapoff was fouled on a drive. She made the first free throw, missed the second, but Hanna Morris pulled down the offensive rebound. Agapoff got the ball back and was fouled. This time she missed both free throws, and the Golden Eagles rebounded. Quannah Ryan drew a shooting foul with 1:08 remaining. She made the first free throw but not the second. Hawkins rebounded, pushed the ball, and scored the layup to get within two points at 57-59. The Golden Eagles called a timeout and advanced the ball. Their shot attempt was off target, and Lizbeth Zavala grabbed the rebound. The Bear Cubs soon turned the ball over, the Golden Eagles missed their shot, and Hanna Morris grabbed the rebound. The Bear Cubs drove the ball into the front court and called a timeout with 17 seconds to go. Before Lani Lincoln could pass in the ball, Coach Campbell caller her final timeout and drew up another play. This time Trinity Hawkins passed in to Lani Lincoln, who had cut up off a screen to about seven feet above the free throw circle then drained the go-ahead 3-pointer. The Golden Eagles called a timeout and advanced the ball with 14.7 seconds on the clock. Ryan drove and drew a foul from Trinity Hawkins, her fifth. Ryan missed the first free throw but made the second tying the score at 60-60 with 9.6 seconds remaining. With no timeouts left, the Bear Cubs inbounded and frantically pushed the ball into the front court. Amaya Macandog caught the pass near the left sideline, took a few dribbles, and threw up the off-balance, one-handed shot from about 18 feet that miraculously dropped through the basket as the buzzer sounded. The 62-60 comeback victory advances the Bear Cubs to Round 2 of the NorCal Playoffs.
Neither team shot particularly well overall. The Golden Eagles made 23 out of 66 shots (35%), while the Bear Cubs made just 18 out of 64 (28%). Free throws and fouls proved to have a huge impact on the outcome of this game. The Bear Cubs only had 7 players available to go into the game, while the Golden Eagles had 12. Kassi Agapoff and Lizbeth Zavala both picked up two fouls in the first half as did three of the Golden Eagles. Precious Masters, the Golden Eagles' leading scorer who came into the game averaging 17.9 points per game, got into foul trouble and eventually fouled out with 5:12 left in the game after scoring 12 points. The Bear Cubs shot a season-high 33 free throws and made 21 of them. Their opponents only attempted 12, of which they made 8. Quannah Ryan led the Golden Eagles in scoring with 20 points. Serena Sanchez-Gardipe also scored in double figures with 11.
Trinity Hawkins, who made 9 field goals and 8 out of 10 free throws, was the Bear Cubs' leading scorer with 26 points. Lani Lincoln had a rare off-shooting night but still finished with 16 points. Amaya Macandog had to guard taller post players and contributed 9 points off the bench, including the game-winner. Lizbeth Zavala added 5 points and Kassi Agapoff 2. Hanna Morris started in place of the unavailable Kierra Johnson, scored 4 points, pulled down 7 rebounds, and blocked out well so the guards could swoop in to get the ball. Lizbeth Zavala was the leading rebounder with 12. Trinity Hawkins grabbed 9 rebounds, Kassi Agapoff 8, and Lani Lincoln 7. Lincoln passed for 4 assists.