The Arcata Tigers won their Big 5 opener in girls basketball at McKinleyville on Thursday night, defeating the Panthers 63-54.
The Tigers had the better of the early exchanges and held the Panthers at bay the remainder of the way, improving to 1-0 in the Big 5 and 9-7 overall.
“We just couldn’t quite get over the hump and they knocked down some big shots,” McKinleyville head coach Tony McClure said. “They earned the victory.”
Jocelyn Bliven led the way for the visitors with a game-high 19 points, while teammate Zoie Andre scored 17, including five 3-pointers, two of them in the fourth quarter.
Rayn Tripp scored 16 points to lead a short-handed McKinleyville team that has been plagued recently with sickness and injuries and was missing five players this week.
That prevented the Panthers from pressing as much as they like to, but it wasn’t the only problem on the night.
“We just had difficulty converting scoring opportunities,” McClure said. “We just couldn’t quite get anything going on offense.”
The Panthers missed on 18 of 33 free-throw attempts, including eight in the opening quarter as the Tigers opened up a slender lead they would continue to hold throughout the game.
Hailee Henry added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Mack girls, who dropped to 0-2 in the Big 5 and 4-11 overall.
In JV action, the Mack girls got the better of the Tigers to go to 1-1 in the Big 5 and 11-5 overall.
The Arcata girls won the freshmen game in overtime.