By Ray Hamill — Despite a troublesome season on the men’s and women’s basketball courts, the College of the Redwoods sophomores are closing out with a bang.
All four of them were honored before Monday’s home finales against Lassen, and all four will play their final games at Butte on Wednesday night.
The women’s team features three second-year players, Bobbie Purify, Taylor Murray and Adriana Catana, each of whom had a big say in Monday’s win, the team’s second straight after some recent struggles.
And the men’s team features just one sophomore, Logan Thrap, who has been inspirational all year despite a frustrating campaign for the squad in more ways than one.
“Since I became coach, he’s definitely stepped up and been the leader for this team, on and off the court,” men’s interim head coach Darren Turpin said of Thrap.
Turpin took over from Aaron Hungerford in mid season after the latter was let go by the school for violation of department policies after being charged with suspicion of a DUI.
The team has continued to struggle in terms of wins and losses, with a record of 0-25 heading into tonight’s season finale.
But Thrap has never relented, showing up for every game.
The former St. Bernard’s star leads the team in rebounds (5.9), assists (3.0) and steals (1.4) and is second in scoring with 12.2 points a game.
He is also the only player to start all 25 games for the team this season.
“He’s our only sophomore, so he brings experience to the team, knowing just what it takes to to be a part of this league,” Turpin said. “He’s definitely been my voice on the court.”
Thrap scored a team-high 19 points in Monday’s 80-61 loss to Lassen, while Joe Macaraeg finished with 14 points and Elysha Jackson with 12.
CR women finding their rhythm
The CR women, meanwhile, appear to be finding some rhythm with the season winding down, having won two straight for the first time since early November.
And the team’s three sophomores have all played a big part in that.
Purify has been one of the Corsairs’ most reliable players all season, bringing plenty of experience and all-around talent to a young lineup.
“Definitely, she’s one of our best players,” head coach Jain Tuey said. “She works her heart out on the court.”
The statistics would back that.
The former Eureka Logger leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points a game, as well as field goal percentage (42.2).
She is also second in rebounds with 6.7, trailing only impressive freshman Darienne Kartes (7.7).
Purify, who has been battling injuries all season, is the only player to start all 22 games for the 7-15 CR women.
“She just gets after it. She does whatever it takes,” Tuey said.
Murray, a Fortuna High graduate, has also had a big impact for the Corsairs, particularly from the perimeter, where she is second on the team in 3-pointers and 3-point percentage (33.8)
“She’s just a really hard-working girl,” Tuey said.
Murray, who is averaging 7.9 points a game, has also played much of the season injured, putting off wrist surgery until after the final game.
“She’s one of our captains, and stays motivated,” Tuey said. “The girls really look to her for leadership, and when she comes on the floor, I know she’s going to hit some big scores for us.”
Catana, meanwhile, has played in all 22 games this season, giving the team a much-needed boost off the bench with her experience, particularly on the offensive end.
“Her experience has definitely been noticeable on the court and in practice,” Tuey said of the former Ferndale player. “She knows the offense pretty well.”
Catana has also been key in giving Purify a break in action.
“Lately, she’s been one of our more consistent players offensively,” Tuey said. “She runs our offense very well and has a good basketball mind offensively.”
All three sophomores stepped up in Monday’s 67-57 win over Lassen.
Murray finished with a team-high 17 points, including accounting for five of the team’s 13 3-pointers.
Purify added 12 points, while standout freshman Bree Northern finished with nine points.