Cougars’ title quest comes close

By From page A8 | February 19, 2014


EL DORADO'S Aaron Line goes to the basket in Monday's game against the River City Raiders. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Double overtime loss

A share of the Sierra Valley Conference title was on the line for the El Dorado High boys basketball team which hosted first-place River City Monday.

The tense battle went to double overtime and in the end, the Raiders walked off the court with a thrilling 76-71 win on the Cougars’ Senior Night at LA Brown Gym.

El Dorado (8-4, 13-13) finished tied for second place with Cosumnes Oaks, which forfeited its first game to the Cougars because of an eligible player.

Tied 63-all going into the second overtime period, El Dorado and River City exchanged three-pointers as the Cougars’ Tommy Williams (13 points) and the Raiders’ Michael Briscoe knocked down treys.

Fouls plagued El Dorado. River City’s 6-of-7 effort from the free throw line led by Briscoe and Richard DaSilva gave the Raiders a 70-66 lead.

El Dorado closed the gap to 70-68 when Soren Shepherd (nine points) hit a basket with two minutes left. Then Cougar forward Aaron Line (18 points) canned a shot to tie the game at 70-all with 1:38 left.

Briscoe was clutch for the Raiders, as he hit the go-ahead shot on River City’s next possession for a 72-70 advantage. Williams made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:05 left to trim the Raiders’ lead to 72-71 but Briscoe nailed two more free throws with 9.6 seconds left to make the score final.

“They just happen to make one bigger shot than we did,” El Dorado head coach Conrad Dizon said.

The game was tied at 55-all when the Cougars and Raiders entered the first overtime. Shepherd started the period with a trey that was followed 17 seconds later when Briscoe (game-high 26 points) hit another one. Dizon felt his team still had the momentum despite the loss of center Michael Weston, who fouled out with 5.8 seconds left.

“We made big shots,” Dizon said. “It was back and forth.”

The Cougars had a chance to win the game at the buzzer when Shepherd drove into the paint but his shot spun around the rim and fell off.

River City held a slim 37-35 lead entering the fourth quarter. Both teams battled and it appeared El Dorado was in position to win up 54-50 lead with 58 seconds left after Line hit a basket inside the paint.

Briscoe answered with a trey to cut the score to 54-53 with 25 seconds left and after Cougar swingman Matt Smith (team-high 25 points) made 1-of-2 free throws with 22.5 seconds to go, Raider Brandon Ruaro sank 2-of-2 with 8.2 seconds left for a 55-all score.

Standing near the inside of the key, Williams fired off what appeared to be the game-winning shot at the buzzer, but missed to send the game into overtime.

“We had a chance in regulation,” Dizon said. “We just didn’t make that one. This hurts a lot.”

Though El Dorado led 28-23 at halftime, Cougar shooting went cold as they scored only seven points while the Raiders had 14.

In the first quarter, El Dorado jumped out to a 9-5 lead behind and the Cougars led 19-13 after the quarter.

Weston finished with four points for the Cougar, followed by Ian Spencer with two.

El Dorado honored its six seniors in their final home game of their careers. Those players were Kean Thompson, Williams, Caleb Wetmore, Shepherd, Weston and Line.

Playoff brackets will be released today.

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo
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