Life is full of bad things happening to good people, and it hurts a bunch when it happens.

Bad things have happened to two Intermountain Area prep basketball players this year - both suffering broken bones that put them out of commission when it comes to helping their teams on the hardwood. Big Valley senior Michael McCrary broke his leg in a game at the Block ‘F’ Tournament and it dealt a blow to the Cardinals as he was a starter who’s offensive prowess will be missed. The latest player sidelined is Fall River senior Zach Thompson, and this came as a blow to the high flying Bulldogs. Thompson broke a bone in his foot after an awkward landing in practice the beginning of last week.

Both players were team leaders on the court, and capable of scoring a ton of points for their team. However, Thompson’s injury is more than just a blow to the Bulldogs - it is felt by team fans who’ve enjoyed watching him control games this season.

Over the many years I’ve been watching high school basketball, there are only a handful of players that I would consider the cream of the crop and worth every penny of admission to watch them play.

• Jamie Hawkins-Russo: Four year freshman star at Big Valley and went on to play for Boise State and the University of Oregon. Also played pro ball in Europe.

• Kellen Gerig: Another 4-year varsity star at Big Valley who’s now a starter at Shasta College in Redding in his sophomore year.

• Wyatt Stier: Burney grad, this tall drink ‘o water also playing for Shasta this season. • Taylor Sloat: Fall River grad who went on to star in football at UC Davis, but was so much fun to watch on the basketball court in high school.

• Alberto ‘Tito” Ortega: Currently JV boys coach at his alma mater of Big Valley. His antics and ball control were well worth the price of getting into a Cardinal game his four years of playing. He spent this past summer at a basketball academy in Spain.

Then there’s Zach Thompson who was sitting on top of the northern section CIF statistical department when he was injured. • First in the section in scoring at a 24.7 points per game clip.

• First in free throws at 77. Hitting from the charity stripe at a 73 percentage rate. • Second in the NSCIF in assists (5.5 per game) which shows he wasn’t selfish, yet was the tops in scoring.

• Seventh in steals at 3.1 per game.

You can see why his playing will be missed by both his Bulldog team and their fans.

Last year Zach had a decent season, but played under the shadow of Justin Vigil, who propelled the Bulldogs to a 30-1 season, best record in northern section history. However, this season Zach was able to be Zach and be the team leader in statistics as well as leading by example for his teammates. He was proving to be an all around player well worth watching when this injury struck and ended his basketball season... we can only hope he gets back before it’s all over.

There were college scouts checking Zach out, and we can only hope they’ve seen enough to invite him to be part of their team in the future. Any college would be lucky to snare him, and if they pass him up... that’s their mistake in judgement.

So hurry up and get well (both Zach and Michael)... your teams would welcome you back in an instant. So would the Bulldog and Cardinal fans.

Here’s good luck to all our prep players for the rest of this season... and beyond!

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Bulldogs Bulldogs Win Streak Snapped
as Modoc Upends Fall River
McARTHUR - The upstart Modoc Braves came to town Friday night and abruptly ended the Fall River Bulldogs undefeated season, winning a thriller, 51-48. The loss snapped the Bulldogs 16 game win streak of this season and ended their 27 game win string going back to January 31, 2017 when they lost to Mount Shasta. The Bulldogs are 46-2 in their last 48 games.

“We played good defense,” noted coach Scott Gallion, “but we just didn’t put the ball in the hole on offense... and it’s all about putting the ball in the hole, baby.”

Fall River is now without the services of senior Zach Thompson who broke his foot in practice at the start of the week. Thompson not only was the top scorer for Fall River, but was the number one scorer in the northern section averaging over 24 points per game.

“We have to step it up without Zach in the lineup,” summed up Gallion.

Against Modoc, Gavin Dobson led the attack with 14 points, while Tim Westlund pumped in 13 and earned a double-double in hauling in 10 rebounds. Jeffery Kask added seven, Robee Knoch five, Casey Spain four, Jaron Barios three and Bailey Small two.

Earlier in the week the Bulldogs opened Shasta-Cascade league play with a 68-36 win over the visiting Etna Lions.

Knoch put up a career high 34 points, while Westlund hit nine with 10 boards and five steals on defense. Barrios and Small each had four, while Spain added three and Jesse Lopez two.

Fall River has a rought weekend ahead.

The Bulldog are on the road against the top two teams in the conference, opening on Wednesday at Trinity (1-0. 11-5) in Weaverville, and then back on the road 48 hours later to take on the Mt. Shasta Bears (2-0, 15-3).

The Bulldogs have previously faced Trinity twice, beating them narrowly for the Block ‘F’ Tournament title as well as the championship of the Trinity Invitational. Both games start at 4pm.

Burney Picks Up Win at Home
BURNEY - The Burney Raiders wound up their pre-season schedule with a decisive win over visiting Greenville here last Thursday.

After falling behind in the first quarter, the host Raiders out gunned Greenville 16-2 in the second quarter on their way to the 53- 31 win. Burney now stands at 3-9 heading into 5-Star league action this week.

Senior Chris Phipps racked up a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and blocked two shots. Junior Levi Perkins had his first career double-double with 10 points and a team leading 13 boards on defense.

Marvin Jackson pumped in nine points and picked off four steals, while Devin Murray put up seven points, Skyler Ragsdale five, Eli Urlie three and Favian Jimenez two.

“We played with confidence against Greenville,” summed up coach Kevin Bower, “and we had better ball control.”

He went on to note that cutting down on turnovers, “especially unforced turnovers,” is something the team needs to do to be successful against league opponents.

Seventy-two hours earlier, the Raiders lost to the visiting Weed Cougars, 85-45.

Ragsdale led the Burney offense with 14 points, while Phipps pumped in 10 and hauled in nine rebounds. Jimenez added seven to go with nine boards, Perkins added six, Murray five and Urlie three.

“They (Weed) a tough team,” stated coach Bower, “and the long lay-off hurt us in the long run.”

Burney (3-9) hosts Redding Christian (17- 1) tonight (Tuesday) then host Mercy (4-9) on Friday