Athletes of the Week

Athletes and team of the week

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Submitted photo – Fortuna wrestling head coach Steve Schmalzel celebrates his team’s big third-place finish over the weekend with seniors Joey Pontes, left, and Adam Medeiros.

By Ray Hamill — A pair of standout sophomores led their respective teams with some big performances on the basketball court this past week, while one local wrestling team continued its inspirational season with another milestone achievement.

In girls basketball, Beyonce Bussell had two huge games over the past seven days as the Hoopa Valley Warriors continued to set themselves up to make some noise in the playoffs.

On the boys side, meanwhile, South Fork’s Riley Gallagher continues to quickly establish himself as one of the most lethal guards in the Little 4 as the Cubs secured a home game for this week’s Dick Niclai tournament.

On the wrestling mats, Fortuna placed third at the NCS Dual Team Championships for the second straight year, showcasing just how far the program has come under the guidance of head coach Steve Schmalzel.



Beyonce Bussell

Hoopa Valley Basketball, Sophomore

Bussell has developed into arguably the most accurate perimeter shooter in the Little 4 this season.

Much like her team, the sensational sophomore has improved in leaps and bounds since the start of the season, turning in a very impressive performance at St. Bernard’s last week.

Bussell, who scored 27 points in that loss, followed that with a 20-point outing against Ferndale on Monday.

Don’t let the Warriors’ 8-14 record fool you, with most of their losses coming against far larger programs. This is a much-improved team that is primed to make some serious noise in the NCS Division-V bracket, and Bussell is a big part of that.

For more on Bussell’s big week, see Thursday’s game report …


Riley Gallagher

South Fork Basketball, Sophomore

Gallagher has been inspirational for a much-improved Cubs team this season, and led the way once again this past week.

Gallagher scored 20 points in Saturday’s win at Point Arena, nailing six 3-pointers.

Earlier in the week, the Cubs sophomore scored 10 points in a win over Ferndale.

This season, Gallagher has established himself alongside veteran seniors such as CJ Van Mater and Cody Wyatt on a rejuvenated Cubs squad.

For more on Gallagher’s big week, see Prep Roundup — Cubs beat Point Arena …

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Fortuna Wrestling

For the second straight season, the Huskies placed third at the NCS Dual Team Championships on Saturday, continuing what has been an inspirational campaign as head coach Steve Schmalzel battles illness.

The Huskies’ top placing shows just how far the program has come under the guidance of the veteran coach, who was on hand on Saturday to celebrate with his grapplers, many of whom he has been coaching since they were in fifth grade.

Del Norte also had a big showing, placing second for the first time ever.

For more on the big day for H-DN wrestling, see Local teams shine at NCS dual championships …

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