Big week in store for local prep basketball

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Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Gracie Betts and the Fortuna Huskies have set the pace in the Big 5 this season.

By Ray Hamill — It’s going to be a busy week for local high school basketball, as we close in on the halfway point of the Big 5.

Del Norte has set the pace for the boys, improving to 3-0 with a key win at home to Arcata on Friday night.

The Warriors close out the first half of conference play on Wednesday at McKinleyville (0-3 in the Big 5), and an expected win there would leave them as the only unbeaten team halfway through the schedule.

The high-flying Warriors tip off the second half of the Big 5 at home to Eureka (1-3) on Friday.

The Arcata boys will try to respond to Friday’s loss when they host Fortuna on Wednesday in a pivotal showdown between a pair of 2-1 teams.

The winners of that game will keep themselves in contention for a championship, while the losers will all but see their title ambitions end.


Arcata guard Brandon Bento-Jackson

Little 4 heats up

The Little 4, meanwhile, should heat up this week after some postponements this past week.

The St. Bernard’s boys have been the most impressive team so far, winning their opening two games in very different ways.

After rallying from a big deficit to edge Hoopa in their opener, the Crusaders rolled to a fairly comfortable win over a good Ferndale team on Friday, suggesting they are building steam and the team to beat this year.

South Fork is 1-0 after also getting the better of Ferndale (0-2) and their rescheduled game with a much-improved Hoopa (0-1) will be key for both, whenever that is.

This week St. Bernard’s travels to play both South Fork (Wednesday) and Hoopa (Friday), where the Crusaders will look to solidify their title challenge, but you can expect the Hoopa gym to be rocking after what happened at SB eight days ago.

Both of those games will play a big role in this year’s championship.


St. Bernard’s Marayah Tomlinson defends against Hoopa’s Carina Peterson during a recent matchup.

Huskies lead the Big 5

In girls action, the Fortuna Huskies (3-0) have set the early pace in the Big 5 and will look to close out the first half of league play with a fourth win in four games when they host Arcata (1-2) on Tuesday.

They then travel to McKinleyville on Thursday in what could be a tricky proposition against a Panthers team that is a lot more dangerous than its 0-3 record would suggest.

The Del Norte girls (1-2) will try to keep their slender Big 5 hopes alive at Mack on Tuesday, before traveling to play at Eureka (3-1) on Thursday.

The Loggers, who have a bye from league play early in the week, appear to be the most likely to push the Huskies for the championship, but they will need to take care of the Warriors to set up a massive and potential championship deciding showdown at home to Fortuna the following Wednesday (January 29).

In the Little 4, the St. Bernard’s girls (2-0) have dominated the early going and appear to be cruising to a sixth straight league title.

The Crusaders are scheduled to host South Fork (0-1) on Tuesday and will travel to Hoopa (0-1) later in the week.

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