By Ray Hamill — A pair of seniors who have been hugely influential for their respective basketball teams all season take center stage this week, as their prep careers wind down.
St. Bernard’s Lane Thrap not only has been the inspirational leader on a Crusaders team that is ranked No. 1 in Division-VI in the North Coast Section, but he will go down as one of the all-time greats in program history.
Arcata’s Jocelyn Bliven will also be missed after leading the way on a young Tigers team that arguably overachieved this year and was a force in the Big 5.
And that earns both of them our athlete of the week honors.
As for our team of the week, the McKinleyville girls have been on fire recently on the basketball court, saving their season with a remarkable run that has seen them win five of their last six games and somehow qualify for this week’s Dick Niclai tournament against all the odds.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
St. Bernard’s Basketball, Senior
Thrap has been sensational for the SB boys for several years now, so much so that we tend to take it almost for granted when watching him play.
He’s a tremendously talented multi-sport athlete whose consistency on the basketball has been nothing short of remarkable.
Thrap’s season and time at St. Bernard’s is winding down, but don’t be surprised to see him go out with a bang and quite possibly an NCS title.
For more on Thrap’s big week, see Crusaders celebrate senior night with a Little 4 championship …
Arcata Basketball, Senior
Bliven’s prep basketball career ended this week when the Arcata Tigers lost to McKinleyville in an H-DNL playoff game on Monday, notably without their standout senior in the lineup due to injury.
That, however, doesn’t take from what Bliven has meant to the team for the past few years and this season in particular, when she grew into the Tigers’ inspirational leader.
“She’s such a great person, and such a great leader,” Arcata head coach Doug Oliveira said. “She leads by example. Every second of every day she works hard. She’s special and we’re going to really miss her.”
TEAM OF THE WEEK
McKinleyville Girls Basketball
Someone call 911, the Panthers are on fire.
They come into Tuesday night’s Dick Niclai opener having won five of their past six games and catapulting themselves not just into the H-DNL playoffs but also now into the NCS postseason as well.
And the way they’re suddenly playing — now that they’re healthy and playing with a rhythm and confidence — no one will want to face them.
As head coach Tony McClure said, a stellar group of seniors don’t want their careers to end just yet.
They’re certainly playing like it.
For more on the Panthers’ big week, see Mack girls continue remarkable late-season run …