Tigers win first Niclai play-in game, get set for Panthers


File photo – Arcata’s Jocelyn Bliven

The Arcata girls kept their Dick Niclai ambitions alive with a 65-55 win at Del Norte in basketball on Saturday night.

The victory sets up a home game against McKinleyville on Monday to see which of them advances to play at Eureka in the opening round of the Niclai tournament the following night.

Zoie Andre and Jocelyn Bliven each scored a team-high 12 points for the Tigers, who improved to 12-13, while teammate Bella Volz-Broughton finished with nine points.

“It was a great team effort,” head coach Doug Oliveira said.

Andre shot well at the offensive end, while Bliven continued to have a big say defensively, along with Tatum Carlin and Volz-Broughton.

“They were a force defensively,” Oliveira said of Bliven, Carlin and Volz-Broughton. “And clutch penetrating and making things happen.”

Zoe Leonard also gave the Tigers a spark off the bench.

Carlin, Grace Talty and standout freshman Olivia Railsback each chipped in seven points.

Jadence Clifton scored a game-high 29 points for the Warriors, who dropped to 12-12 and will not get the opportunity to defend the Niclai title they won a year ago.

The Warriors, however, should get the chance to make some noise in the North Coast Section playoffs, with the Division-IV bracket set to be released next weekend.

Olivia Stilwell added nine points in Saturday’s loss and Kirsten Brous seven.

Monday’s game at Arcata will be played as part of a doubleheader with the boys team, which opens Niclai play against Eureka.

The girls game gets under way at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.

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