CHICO, Calif. - The Chico High boys basketball team beat Foothill on Tuesday night in a thrilling 48-46 win. Now, the two sides share first place in the eastern athletic league.
“We were aggressive, we got the whistle a couple of times and credit to the guys I mean I don't what the free throws were down the stretch yeah I do in the fourth quarter we were two, four, six, eight for nine from the free-throw line, and that's a mental toughness thing and they were very mentally tough in the end and what a great finish," Head Basketball Coach, Abe Simmons said.
That it was.
Late free throws from Quentin Thomas put the Panthers up two with eight seconds left. The junior followed that with a game-sealing steal avenging a 36-point loss the Cougars gave Chico just three weeks ago.
“Knowing I had to knock them down to give us a chance and even if we didn't we could still get a stop and send it to overtime and see what happens. "That was great almost a repeat of the PV game losing the first game and just having the motivation to come back and beat them and it happens," Quentin Thomas said.
Now at 7-2 with one game left in the regular season, these panthers have come a long way.
"Our returners from last have just stepped their game up a lot, especially Quentin and we've got Matthew James coming up too, he's doing a great job. So yeah, overall our team's just getting better. We were 1-9 last year and now we're competing or trying to at least win a league title so right now it's just about the next game and going forward." Stephen Schaefer said.
Quentin Thomas said he thinks last year is what gave them a lot of motivation.
"It made us work harder and keep grinding to get better this year and I think all those hours of practice are paying off finally," Thomas said.
Coach Simmons said it's been especially fun for the guys who were on the team last year because they went through it on the other end.
"Now for them to experience winning...what a credit to them as young men," Simmons said. "They kept showing up, they totally bought in even when they were 1-9 last year in the league and there was a lot of boo-birds in the fans and people were talking in their ear. They shut all that out and they kept showing up every day and paying attention and it's showing. This year they're even more successful.”
Both Foothill and Chico have one game left in the regular season.
The panthers host Red Bluff on Thursday, Feb. 13 while the cougars host Shasta on Valentine's Day.