Basketball

Mack girls do their league rivals a big favor

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File photo – Cameron Heenan

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.

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