It appears as if the Eureka Loggers are building some momentum.
Just 24 hours after defeating Hoopa Valley, the Loggers made it two straight wins by knocking off McKinleyville in a Big 5 boys basketball clash at Eureka High on Tuesday night.
In other action Tuesday, the Del Norte Warriors held off a late Arcata surge for their first Big 5 win, while the Fortuna Huskies continued to roll with a comfortable non-conference win over St. Bernard’s.
The Loggers’ two wins this week have both come in exciting down-to-the wire games, and they followed Monday’s one-point victory over Hoopa with a 60-58 win over McKinleyville, giving them just their second Big 5 win since 2014.
The back-to-back victories over quality opponents, however, would suggest this is a Eureka team that is finally waking up from a four-year slumber.
“I definitely loved the energy,” Eureka head coach Robbie Thompson said of his players’ performance. “Last night’s energy led into tonight.”
The performance was similar too, with the Eureka boys starting the stronger of the two teams only to blow a sizable lead and find themselves trailing late in the game.
But once again, the players found a way to step up late, outscoring the visitors 26-22 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.
Miles Meynell and Zach Reed were each instrumental for Eureka once again, as was Gary Jimenez.
“He was our mystery player,” Thompson said of Jimenez. “It seemed like he was always there in the right place at the right time, from defense to rebounds. He was like a Swiss army knife.”
Reed led the team in scoring with 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, when he nailed all six free-throw attempts.
As a team, the Loggers were 13-of-15 from the line in the final period.
Braden Glavich also stepped up late, scoring seven of his 10 points in the fourth quarter and nailing all four of his free throws.
With the win, the Loggers are now 1-2 in league and 4-10 overall.
AJ Stubbs scored 16 points to lead McKinleyville, which fell to 0-2 in the Big 5, having lost two close games, and is now 7-9 overall.
Isaac Puzz finished with 15 points for the Panthers, while Freddie Sundberg had 14 points, including four 3-pointers.
McKinleyville plays at Del Norte on Thursday.
Del Norte 54, Arcata 52
The Warriors won at Arcata to even their record at 1-1 in the Big 5, while handing the Tigers their first league loss in three games.
Omar Banuelos led the Warriors with a game-high 31 points, as they withstood a late surge by the home team in the final minutes to hold on for the key league win.
Ethan Price was next best with six points for the Warriors, who improved to 11-4 on the season.
Garrett Hall led a balanced performance by the Tigers with 15 points, while Hunter Santsche scored 12, Niko Zambas 10 and Jaden Gorge seven.
Seven of Santsche’s tally came in the fourth quarter.
Things won’t get any easier for the Tigers (8-10 overall) with a trip to league leaders Fortuna on Thursday.
Del Norte hosts McKinleyville on the same night.
St. Bernard’s 41, Fortuna 72
The Huskies remained unbeaten against North Coast opposition with a comfortable non-conference win at home to St. Bernard’s on Tuesday night.
With the win, their fourth straight, the Huskies improve to 17-1 on the season, while St. Bernard’s is now 7-6.
Donald Willis led Fortuna with 27 points, while his twin brother Bradley Willis finished with seven points and 12 rebounds.
Drew Gillette and Zac Claus each also had big nights with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
For St. Bernard’s, Lane Thrap scored a team-high 15 points, while Cole Petrusha added seven points.
“Great effort by the boys,” St Bernard’s head coach Steve Thrap said. “We did some things better than we’ve done so far, and playing against a good team definitely helps us improve.
“Fortuna is fun to watch, even when they’re kicking your butt.”
Both teams return to conference play on Thursday, with St. Bernard’s hosting South Fork and Fortuna hosting Arcata.