CHICO – Every year the Chico High basketball team schedules tough opponents before Eastern Athletic League play, and this season is no different. Chico High’s 2021 team, consisting of just three seniors, is working to establish its mark as the Panthers get their football team back as well as players from injuries.
Chico High coach Abraham Simmons said the team has yet to do a full set of exercises despite playing seven matches so far. Simmons said players in each game are learning to trust each other, which will help the team prepare for its EAL schedule which begins at home against Foothill on January 6.
Chico High (2-5) fought hard on Tuesday against the taller and more experienced Woodcreek team, which includes nine seniors. The Panthers took the lead two separate times in the second quarter, but Chico High was never able to surpass the Timberwolves’ lead after going 27-23 at halftime.
Woodcreek (2-5) defeated Chico High 58-48 at Chico High.
Chico High went 16–13 after the first quarter, before Jaden Henry opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 16. The Panthers took their first lead of the game at 18-16 and once again at 20-18.
“The game plan for the game was to run down the shot clock and work hard. This team was really good, we have a really tough preseason so we can’t sit back,” said senior Alex Padilla. Realizing that we can play with these guys, we started working harder and that was the turning point.”
However when Chico took the lead 20–18, Woodcreek took the lead 9–0 and took a 27–20 lead – a lead he would not give up for the rest of the game.
Simmons said, “We just have to learn to trust each other, but in some parts we didn’t run the offense as fast as we should have and trust each other and that was a difference in the game. ”
Padilla was second at Chico High with 12 points, including two of the Panthers’ four 3-pointers. Junior Phil Bernardez led Chico High with 16 points. Ty Hollins scored 18 points for Woodcreek, 15 points for Austin Ito, and 11 points for Amari Taylor. Hollins made three of the Timberwolves’ six 3-pointers.
With less than two minutes to play, Chico went down nine points to 54-46. The Panthers players were determined not to give up. Rashad Samuels steals the ball near mid court and the lefty headed towards the hoop for the layup to take a lead of seven with 1:22. Chico High saw two more possessions, but was unable to receive a rebound on a missed shot by Woodcreek, and on his final possession the Panthers tried to find Padilla for an outside shot, but were unable to find when Senior went open. was unable to. under the net.
During the timeout and throughout the game, Simmons insisted to his team that the players needed to strike the glass and rebound the ball better than they could. Simmons said after the game that Chico was not a very big varsity team and that it would go up against bigger and stronger teams.
“We have to be bad if we have to have success. When a shot goes up we hit people and we have to go to get the ball and tonight it was inconsistent,” Simmons said. “But it’s something we’re improving on and hopefully we’ll have the mindset that we’re going to be a better rebounding team.”
Chico High will now prepare for the Marysville tournament starting Thursday. The Panthers will play Pioneer High in Woodland at 3:30 p.m. Thursday before playing matches on Friday and Saturday. Chico High will return home to host Yuba City in a non-league matchup on Tuesday afternoon.