By Ray Hamill — Eureka High’s impressive playoff run on the football fields has been great for the school, but it has put the basketball team behind schedule.
With as many as eight players still playing football, it’s been a challenge for basketball head coach Robbie Thompson and the rest of his squad.
Last weekend, the Loggers played at the Fred Iten Tournament in Ukiah, dropping all three of their games, and this week they’ll be short-handed once again when they make the short trek north to compete in the Arcata invitational.
“We went to Ukiah and we only had two guys with varsity experience,” Thompson said. “We had a lot of guys getting their varsity feet wet.”
With final cuts still to come and no one currently guaranteed a spot, that’s good news for some of these players, who are getting their opportunity to step up.
And despite the three losses at Ukiah, Thompson saw plenty he liked.
“We were right in it,” he said. “We competed still.”
The Loggers were indeed in each game, including a pair of narrow losses, falling to Windsor (55-45), Ukiah (46-41) and Maria Carrillo (52-50).
And that’s a good sign for a team that has struggled to compete in the Big 5 in recent years, winning just one league game in the past four seasons combined.
When he has his final roster available and a few games together, Thompson expects his team to be in the thick of things by the time the Big 5 rolls around.
“I think we’ll be competitive,” he said. “Obviously Fortuna is the team to beat, and after that, everybody’s fighting. We’re all in the mix.”
The Loggers open the AIBT on Thursday night at 9 p.m. against Piner.
And that means another opportunity for those fringe players to make an impression.
“We’re just looking to be competitive and not get into the mindset that we don’t have enough,” Thompson said. “We don’t need to make excuses. We deal with what we’ve got. Kind of like in life.”
The three-day tournament continues through Saturday.