Both St. Bernard’s and Del Norte claimed at least a share of their respective conference titles on Thursday night, with each putting up more than 70 points in big wins.
The Crusaders won their 12th straight game, comfortably taking care of business at home to South Fork by a score of 71-38.
The win lifts them to 5-0 in the Little 4, which guarantees them at least a share of the title.
The Warriors, meanwhile, ran out to a 72-49 win at Arcata, and that, coupled with McKinleyville’s 45-39 win at Eureka, gives Del Norte at least a share of the Big 5, the program’s first-ever league crown.
Del Norte 72, Arcata 49
Del Norte will be glad to see the back of Arcata this season.
The Tigers might be 0-7 in the Big 5, but for some reason their offense seems to give the high-flying Warriors (6-0 in the Big 5) more trouble than any other conference team.
In the two games between the two teams this season, the Tigers have averaged 50 points, while a suffocating Del Norte defense has allowed an average of just 31.7 points a game in its other four league games.
Still, the Warriors (17-2 overall) did more than enough on offense to secure the win, overcoming a slow start and gradually pulling away.
Kaleya Sanchez scored a game-high 32 points in the win, while Jadence Clifton finished with 21 points and Bella Stone seven.
“We played great, it just took us a while to warm up,” Del Norte head coach Justin Clifton said. “We came out and had a great second half.”
The Warriors will host McKinleyville on senior night next Tuesday in a bid to win the title outright.
“McKinleyville’s going to be pumped. They’re fighting for the Niclai tournament, and they played us tough the last time,” Justin Clifton said. “But it’s going to be our senior night, and it will be loud.”
The Arcata girls, who were within nine points of the new league champions heading into the fourth quarter, dropped to 8-14 overall.
Arcata closes out league play at Fortuna on Tuesday.
South Fork 38, St. Bernard’s 71
The Crusaders took control of the game quickly on their way to another dominating league win, with the team’s three senior co-captains again playing a big part.
Jasa Sisemore, Maddie Costa and Emily Gardner continue to set the tone for St. Bernard’s, with Sisemore scoring a game-high 19 points.
Costa added 14 points and Gardner nine.
The win lifts the Crusaders to 17-4 on the season and secures a sixth consecutive league crown for the program.
The St. Bernard’s girls have not lost a conference game since February 2014, a run of 30 consecutive wins.
Josie Peterson also had a big game on Thursday, finishing with 12 points, while Brenna Silvers added six.
“I’m proud of my girls,” St. Bernard’s head coach Mark Gardner said. “Everybody got to play and contribute tonight.”
For South Fork, which dropped to 0-4 in the Little 4 and 8-11 overall, freshman Michalea McMahan scored a team-high 12 points, while sophomore Kaylei Valk finished with 10 points.
“I give credit to South Fork for playing with tenacity and intensity,” Mark Gardner said.
St. Bernard’s hosts Eureka on Saturday night in what could be an entertaining matchup between two of the area’s top teams, while South Fork hosts Hoopa Valley on Monday.