By Ray Hamill — The Loggers welcomed back several of their players this week, in time for their annual Logger Classic, which tips off on Thursday.
Five local teams will be involved in the three-day event, including Arcata, McKinleyville, Hoopa Valley and high-flying Fortuna.
“These teams are all playing well,” Eureka head coach Robbie Thompson said. “I think it will be a competitive tournament.”
It’s also a tournament that has a longstanding relationship with the local community.
“It’s always had kind of a hometown feel,” Thompson said. “We try to make it an event more than just a basketball tournament.”
The Loggers are 0-6 on the young season, but have been without several of their players, who were still playing football until last weekend.
Most of the returning players will be in action this week, however, when the Loggers open against Stellar Prep on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
“They’ve still got to catch up,” Thompson said. “But we’ll be ready. We’re trying to cram.”
Thompson had just two players with any varsity experience at his disposal for the opening two tournaments of the season, although he says he likes a lot of what he saw from his younger players, and felt his team was competitive in most of their games despite losing all of them.
And the Eureka head coach feels his team will contend for the tournament championship this weekend.
“We’ve got eyes on the prize,” he said. “We’re looking to be competitive. Those first few weeks, we were right there.”
The head coach, however, will be without the services of senior Cruz Montana, who broke his jaw playing in last weekend’s CIF state regional football playoff game against Menlo-Atherton.
The early prognosis is that Montana could return later in the season.
With most of his players just back, the head coach is also still working out his final roster.
Huskies on a roll
Fortuna, meanwhile, comes into the tournament unbeaten on the season at 8-0, while winning games by an average margin of 21.4 points.
The Big 5 favorites haven’t even been at full strength yet this season, with senior starter Zac Claus just joining the team this week after a long playoff run in football.
The Fortuna boys open against Sutter at 9 p.m. in a battle of Huskies, with the latter coming in at 1-4.
Arcata (2-4) also opens on Thursday, playing Dougherty Valley out of San Ramon at 6 p.m., with the Wildcats coming in at 4-1.
And rounding out the local contingent are Hoopa Valley and McKinleyville, who play each other at 4:30 p.m.
The Warriors are off to an impressive 7-1 start, including a championship win at the Gene Cotter Memorial Tournament at South Fork High last weekend.
The high-flying Warriors have been scoring 73 points a game, and defeated McKinleyville 82-74 in both teams’ season opener three weeks ago.
The Panthers are 3-4 on the season, reaching the championship game at their own tournament two weeks ago.