By Ray Hamill — Fresh off their first Little 4 win of the season, the Hoopa Valley girls will be looking to pull off the upset of the season on the basketball court on Friday night, in what will be a huge showdown for them.
“That’s going to be the biggest game of the season for us,” said head coach Crissy Robbins, whose team welcomes league leaders St. Bernard’s to Hoopa as part of a quadruple-header of games, including JV boys and girls, and varsity boys and girls.
With a record of 1-1 in the Little 4, the Hoopa girls are best placed to prevent the high-flying Crusaders (3-0) from winning a sixth straight league championship, and a win on Friday will leave them right in the thick of the chase for a league championship at the halfway stage.
And the Warriors won’t be backing down from the challenge, despite losing at St. Bernard’s by a score of 69-32 two weeks ago.
The Hoopa girls got the better of Ferndale 53-43 on Tuesday night — their first L4 win and their third win of the year (not the first, as we incorrectly reported earlier this week) — and they appear to be playing their best basketball of the season at a crucial time.
“We’re starting to play a lot better, starting to come together,” Robbins said. “We’re making better passes, and breaking down the press better. We’re doing a lot better handling pressure.”
Several players have lifted the level of their play in recent weeks, including Carina Peterson, who was inspirational in Tuesday’s win.
“She had a solid game all-around,” the head coach said of the senior guard, who scored 11 points. “She was pretty rock solid for us.”
The ever-reliable Naschewen Hunsucker also continued to set the tone for the Warriors, finishing with a team-high 12 points, while Dentilla Albers also made her presence felt and finished with 10 points.
“All in all it was a great team performance,” Robbins said.
Junior guard Beyonce Bussell chipped in eight points and several assists, and “had a solid game,” according to her coach, while Dawn Van Pelt added six points and Jada McCovey and Karlee Lewis three points each.
Van Pelt also had a good game defensively and did a lot of the grunt work for the Warriors.
A win for the Crusaders on Friday will guarantee them at least a share of the Little 4 title with two games remaining.
The Hoopa girls will make up their postponed game at South Fork on February 3.