By Ray Hamill — The Arcata Tigers found their touch from downtown in the third quarter on Wednesday night, as they took control of their Big 5 boys basketball showdown at home to Eureka.
Niko Zambas and Garrett Hall each nailed two 3-pointers in the period to help the home team pull away from the Loggers, and the Tigers were able to hold on for a 54-42 win.
It was a good night defensively for the Arcata boys, who had to overcome a physical Eureka team and are now 2-0 in the Big 5 and 13-6 overall.
“Any time you can get a Big 5 win, it’s big,” Arcata head coach Dusty Scofield said afterwards.
Zambas finished with a game-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and seemed to give his team a lift every time the Loggers were threatening to close the gap.
Likewise with Hall, who finished with 13 points, including his two big third-quarter 3-pointers, while Brandon Bento-Jackson added 10 points and Marcus Bensen nine.
Bento-Jackson, who hit on 5 of 7 free throws, continued to impress at point guard, and his play alongside Zambas was a big difference on the night.
“I thought Niko Zambas and Brandon did a nice job controlling their guards defensively,” Scofield said.
The Arcata boys outscored Eureka 16-10 in the third quarter to double a six-point halftime lead, and there was no way back for the Loggers after that.
For Eureka, the loss was the third straight to start league play.
Miles Meynell and Jackson Giacone each scored a team-high nine points in the loss, while Jaeden Thayer and Grant Barerra each added six points and Trevor Bell four.
With the loss, the Eureka boys are now 11-7 overall.
Next up on Friday night, the Tigers travel to play Del Norte with the Big 5 lead on the line, while the Loggers will try to get their first league win at McKinleyville.