By Ray Hamill — This time there was no disputing the team’s effort.
On Friday night, the Eureka girls comfortably got the better of visiting Sir Francis Drake in the North Coast Section basketball playoffs by a score of 58-42 at Jay Willard Gymnasium.
The win sets up a semifinal showdown at No. 1 seed Salesian, the No. 14 ranked team in California, after the Pride defeated No. 8 Encinal 75-29, also on Friday.
But regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s semifinal, the Loggers have likely secured a place in the NorCal Tournament after Friday’s win, as the top two seeds in the bracket are anticipated to apply to play in the Open Division in the CIF tournament.
After Tuesday’s somewhat lackluster win over Hercules, the No. 4 seed Loggers came out with more purpose to them on Friday.
“The energy and effort, the two ‘E’s, were spectacular,” Eureka head coach Michael Harvey said. “I’m very proud of the defensive pressure against a very good Drake team.”
Controlling the tempo
Defensively, the Loggers certainly stepped up their game, and controlled the tempo throughout against a Pirates team that was never really in contention after the opening quarter.
“Our defense was on point,” Eureka junior guard Sophia Chalmers said. “We had a lot of ball pressure and a lot of effort.”
The Loggers came out the stronger of the two teams, opening up a quick double-digit lead and never appearing in danger of losing the game after that.
Makaila Napoleon set the tone early, with eight of her 12 points coming in the opening quarter, including a pair 3-pointers.
Earlier in the day, the standout senior signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Oregon Tech next season.
Another senior, Paige Lyons, also had a big game for the home team, finishing with 16 points, including nine in the second half to help keep the visitors at bay.
The Drake girls opened the second quarter with a pair of 3s to grab some momentum, but the Loggers responded by closing out the half on a 15-6 run to lead by 17 at halftime.
Chalmers contributed at both ends of the court, finishing with 15 points, while the ever-reliable Dorshaela Wesson added eight points.
“In the second half we kind of were on cruise control, as far as not making bad decisions,” Harvey said. “Our defense was great tonight.”
Hailee Eastus scored 12 points to lead the Pirates, who close out the season at 19-9.
With the win, the Loggers improve to 21-9.