By Ray Hamill — The Eureka girls responded to a disappointing week on the basketball court with a dynamic team performance in a non-conference 66-53 win at St. Bernard’s on Saturday night.
Just two days after seeing their Big 5 ambitions take a huge hit in a surprise loss to McKinleyville, the Loggers quickly put that performance behind them by beating their crosstown rivals.
The loss ended a 12-game winning streak for St. Bernard’s.
Kellina Pratton led the way for the Eureka girls, who had to withstand a fourth-quarter rally by the home team.
The Loggers came out the stronger of the two teams, opening up a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter and stretching it to as many as 17 by early in the third quarter.
The Crusaders, however, refused to give up, battling back into the game with a second-half rally, although they were never quite able to close the gap.
“I was happy to get the win and really happy with the effort,” Eureka head coach Michael Harvey said. “We had a great effort tonight.”
Particularly from Pratton, who turned in one of her best performances of the season with a team-high 16 points.
Pratton was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, when she scored 10 points and seemed to answer for her team every time the Crusaders tried to rally.
“Kellina was on fire tonight,” Harvey said.
Two of her fourth-quarter scores came on assists from Makaila Napoleon, who passed the length of the court to find an open Pratton streaking down court.
Napoleon also had a big game, on both ends of the court, with some key blocks on defense to frustrate the home team, along with 10 points.
Paige Lyons finished with 12 points in the win, as Eureka improved to 16-7, while Dorshaela Wesson had eight and Sophia Chalmers six.
Chalmers was just as effective on defense, after being assigned the difficult task of holding St. Bernard’s Jasa Sisemore, and turned in another strong performance.
“That’s something we focused on, and she did a great job,” Harvey said. “I thought our guards’ play was key. It was a team effort.”
The game was played in front of a packed gymnasium, as you would expect from these two crosstown rivals.
“Great school spirit by both sides,” St. Bernard’s head coach Mark Gardner said. “In the county that has had its troubles recently, it was nice to see a spirited high school game.”
Gardner also praised the visiting team’s effort.
“Hats off to Eureka, they played really well,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get to see them again in the Niclai tournament.”
The seniors continued to play a major role for the home team, which matched the Loggers 26-26 through the middle two quarters of play.
Emily Gardner finished with a team-high 18 points, while Jasa Sisemore had eight and Maddie Costa seven.
“I’m very proud of my girls for battling the entire game,” Mark Gardner said.
Josie Peterson also had a big night in the loss, finishing with nine points, while Shelby Jordan added seven points, six of them in the fourth quarter, with some inspirational hustle plays.
St. Bernard’s, which dropped to 17-5, will host McKinleyville on Monday night, while the Loggers host Ferndale on Tuesday.
St. Bernard’s 46, Brookings-Harbor 72
The Crusaders dropped a non-league road game in Oregon on Saturday afternoon, falling at Brookings-Harbor.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the St. Bernard’s boys, who are now 11-9 overall.
“The game was much closer than that most of the way, but we ran out of gas a little bit towards the end,” St. Bernard’s head coach Steve Thrap said.
Lane Thrap paced the Crusaders offensively with 18 points, while teammate Luke Fairfield finished with nine points.
Brookings-Harbor improved to 11-8.
The Crusaders play at Eureka on Monday.