The Corsairs won a key Golden Valley Conference matchup in men’s basketball on Wednesday night, knocking off Shasta 72-62 to move into a tie with the Knights for first place in the standings.
Both teams are now 6-1 in conference with three games remaining, including another pivotal showdown between the two frontrunners at Shasta next Wednesday.
There was little to separate the two teams for much of the night, but the Corsairs began to take control in the final few minutes and were able to keep the visitors at bay.
“What a grinder of a game,” CR head coach Ryan Bisio said. “Physical, every inch highly contested. I’m so proud of our poise when we were trying to find our footing.”
Drew Gillette and Donald Willis each scored 22 points to pace the Corsairs, while Jon Nchekwube added 16 points.
“Drew was there tonight for all the game’s pressure points,” Bisio said of the standout sophomore. “Every time we needed a play he was there. His toughness and focus on the defensive end was widely felt in the gym.”
With the win, the Corsairs improved to 16-5 overall, while Shasta dropped to 13-11.
“Shasta deserves so much credit,” Bisio said. “They were missing some key players and gave us all we could handle. What a wonderfully coached team.”
The win was the sixth straight for the CR men, whose only conference loss came in their opener at Butte, while the loss for Shasta ended a six-game conference winning streak.
CR’s remaining games also include a home matchup against Butte (6-2) on Saturday on sophomore day, and a road game at Lassen (1-6) in the conference finale on Feb. 19.
Shasta also has remaining games against Siskiyous (3-5) and Lassen.