The Panthers may be a long shot to reach the Dick Niclai tournament and the North Coast Section playoffs in girls basketball this season, but they did their league rivals a big favor this weekend.
The McKinleyville girls closed out a short road trip to the Bay Area with a 61-41 win at Ygnacio Valley on Saturday afternoon, their second emphatic victory over a Division-IV school in three days.
On Thursday, the Panthers hammered Gateway 57-25, and their two lopsided wins over higher-ranked teams looks good for the rest of the Big 5.
Fortuna, St. Bernard’s, Del Norte and Arcata are all expected to make the NCS Division-IV playoffs, and McKinleyville’s big wins this week is a big statement for the depth of the Big 5 and the H-DNL.
Cameron Heenan played a major role in both wins, capping an impressive road trip with 18 points on Saturday.
Teammate Rayn Tripp also had a big few days, scoring 17 at Ygnacio Valley.
The Panthers, who are 1-5 in the Big 5, improved to 8-14 overall.
Next up, they host Eureka on Wednesday night.