Lady Cougars struggle without Kirby
Lassen (26-6, 6-2) needs to beat Feather River Wednesday, Feb. 20 and hopes College of the Siskiyous defeats Butte this week to set up a showdown on Saturday in Oroville against the Roadrunners for the GVC title.
"We're seeking revenge," Lassen head coach Mark Nareau said. "Hopefully things will work this week so we can beat Butte and get a share of the title."
The Lady Cougars entered last week ranked third in the state and No. 1 in Northern California. But they will surely drop in the polls, following a 71-67 road loss to College of Sthe iskiyous last Wednesday and a 76-74 defeat to Butte at home last Saturday.
"We'll drop, but not that much. Rankings really don't mean much. What matters is how you fair in conference and what your record is at the end of the season," Nareau said.
Siskiyous snapped a 17-game winning streak for Lassen and Butte (No. 4 in the state) ended a string of 19 wins at home.
Lassen point guard Jasmere Kirby sat out against Siskiyous, nursing a high, right ankle sprain. The Lady Cougars nearly escaped Weed with a victory, but Kirby's absence was felt.
Jamie Wagner paced Lassen with 18 points and Janelle Mack scored 14.
Kirby started against Butte and kept the Lady Cougars in the game throughout the first half. She twice stopped the Roadrunners from mounting a double-digit lead, banking in a pair of three-pointers to keep Lassen within four points.
Butte's Lisa Misplay drained a trey at the end of the first half to give the Roadrunners a 40-32 lead. Alicia Gibson and Julie White then helped Butte quickly build a 19-point lead with 8:40 left in the game, before Kirby took over.
The sophomore hit a layup, netted three free throws, and got the ball off a steal and sank a three-pointer, tying the score at 74-74 with 41 seconds remaining.
"She toughed it out and gave us life. The girls really rallied around her and put themselves in a position to win," Nareau said.
But Butte had the last possession, and with two seconds remaining, Marissa White broke free and scored in the paint to win it.
"Butte played a great game like I knew they would," Nareau said. "I'm proud of how our girls fought back when it didn't look promising. It was a game worthy of the No. 3 and 4 teams in the state. We're looking forward to playing Butte on Saturday."
Nareau said Kirby will probably sit out Wednesday's game against Feather River to get healthy for Saturday's regular season finale.
"Jasmere needs some rest. We're going to need her come playoff time and I don't want to jeopardize her future. High, ankle sprains take time to heal," Nareau said.