Basketball

Local teams prepare for Lady Panther Classic

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Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – McKinleyville head coach Tony McClure shares a laugh with his players before a recent game. The Mack girls will host their tournament this week.

By Ray Hamill — More than half the H-DNL will be in action at the McKinleyville girls basketball tournament, which tips off on Thursday afternoon.

In addition to the host team, Fortuna, St. Bernard’s, Hoopa and Eureka will all be on hand at the three-day tournament, which should give local fans a good indication where each now stands.

The Huskies, Crusaders and Loggers have all impressed through the early season and will look to continue when tourney play gets under way.

The opening game features St. Bernard’s (8-1) and Fortuna (7-1), who have lost just once each through the opening few weeks of the season and will carry plenty of confidence and momentum into the showdown.

Likewise with the Eureka girls, who are 8-2 and arguably the most impressive of all local teams so far, having played a tough schedule against many D-III schools.

The Loggers open tournament play against Yreka (2-7) at 9 p.m.

Earlier in the day, the host school will play Hoopa at 7:30 p.m., two teams looking to jumpstart their seasons.

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The Loggers play Yreka on Thursday night.

The Panthers are 1-6, but have been competitive, losing four of those games by three or less points.

Head coach Tony McClure’s team was short-handed at practice this week due to injuries and illness, but said it was a productive few days nonetheless.

“Despite our record I feel like we’re making improvement and on the right path to making our season goals,” McClure said. 

A couple of wins or more this week would go a long towards giving the Panthers a much-needed boost.

“If we get in a close game, I’d like to see them close that game out. That’s something we have to do,” McClure said. “Just to get some confidence back.

“Losing six of your first seven games definitely rakes a bite out of your confidence. Hopefully we can get some wins this weekend to get some confidence.”

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