The St. Bernard’s girls clinched at least a share of a sixth straight Little 4 title on a busy Friday night of local basketball action.
The Crusaders won 64-21 at Hoopa, improving to 4-0 in conference play with two games remaining, while every other team has at least two losses in the Little 4.
The Del Norte boys also had a good night, improving to 5-0 in the Big 5 with a 54-47 win at home to Eureka and taking another step towards a conference title.
Also in action on Friday, the St. Bernard’s boys improved to 4-0 in the Little 4 with a 68-52 win at Hoopa, leaving them on the verge of a league championship.
The South Fork boys kept their title hopes alive with a 60-58 overtime win against Ferndale, while the McKinleyville boys won the most exciting game of the night, when a half-court Jack Clancy buzzer-beater lifted them to a dramatic 66-63 win at Fortuna.
Even more impressive, the Panthers trailed by 23 at halftime.
More to follow on the McKinleyville game.
Del Norte 54, Eureka 47
Anthony Slayton had one of his best offensive nights of the season and scored a game-high 23 points, as Del Norte inched closer to a first Big 5 title since 2011.
The Warriors took an 8-2 lead after the opening quarter and led throughout, but had to withstand a second-half rally from the visitors. who refused to go down easily.
With the win, the Warriors improved to 5-0 in the Big 5 and 16-1 overall.
Arcata, which was idle on Friday night, is 3-1 in conference play and in second place.
Judson Pincombe added nine points in the win, while Kaleb Price scored seven and again made his presence felt inside defensively.
“Our staple all year long has been at the defensive end, and once again I think that was the difference,” Del Norte head coach Marc Slayton said.
Alex Dodson and Kobe Mitchell each also scored five in the win.
For Eureka, which dropped to 1-4 in the Big 5 and 12-8 overall, Jackson Giacone continued his impressive season with a team-high 13 points.
Ian Bennett also had an impact for the Loggers, finishing with seven points, while Jaeden Thayer scored six and Miles Meynell five.
“I thought Eureka played hard. Both teams played composed,” Marc Slayton said. “It was fun to watch because of the effort they were giving, both teams.”
In the JV game, the Del Norte boys won 51-32.
St. Bernard’s 68, Hoopa 52
The Crusaders also took a big step towards a conference championship with a big road win, their seventh straight victory.
Lane Thrap scored a game-high 21 points for the SB boys, who pulled away in the fourth quarter after there were just five points separating the two teams going into the period.
“Once again our defense was the difference,” said head coach Steve Thrap, whose team held the Warriors to just seven points in the fourth quarter.
Remy Campbell added 10 points in the win, as St. Bernard’s remained perfect in the Little 4 with just two games remaining, and is now 12-5 overall.
Owen Shanahan and Will Omey each also had an impact for the Crusaders with nine points apiece, while Hunter Davis chipped in eight off the bench.
“I’m very proud of these boys,” the head coach said. “They work as hard or harder than any team I’ve ever had.”
Hoopa, which dropped to 0-3 and 3-17, was led by Joseph McGinnis with 13 points, while John Smith had 12 and Aidan Mendes 10.
“Hoopa came out ready to play and played some really good basketball,” Steve Thrap said.
Carlos Aguilar added five points for the Warriors and Tavis Young four.
Justin Hagler and Cole Petrusha each also had four for St. Bernard’s.
South Fork 60, Ferndale 58, OT
The Cubs and Wildcats played the closest game of the night at Ferndale, with the visitors edging out the win and keeping their Little 4 title hopes alive.
With the victory, the Cubs are now 2-1 in the L4 (11-7 overall) and two wins behind leaders St. Bernard’s, whom they play again on the final day of the regular season.
Alex Harding was once again instrumental for South Fork, scoring a game-high 29 points, while teammate Cameron Messenger added nine points.
Emmitt Albee and Cody Sampson each scored a team-high 14 points for the Cats, who dropped to 1-3 and 13-9.
Lane Branstetter and Garrett Christiansen each also scored nine for South Fork.
St. Bernard’s 64, Hoopa 21
The Crusaders clinched at least a share of a sixth straight Little 4 championship with a comfortable win at Hoopa on Friday.
They have not lost a conference game since 2014.
“We were led tonight as always by our seniors and our defense,” St. Bernard’s head coach Mark Gardner said. “Overall I was pleased with our effort and glad to get another road league win.”
With the win, the SB girls improved to 15-5 overall, while Hoopa is now 1-2 in the L4.
No individual stats were available for either team.
St. Bernard’s will play a non-conference game at crosstown rivals Eureka on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Hoopa will try to get back on track at Arcata on Monday.