By Ray Hamill — The Loggers will go into the North Coast Section playoffs with plenty of momentum, and the sort of self-belief that could prove just as valuable going forward as it has proved to be this past week.
“They believe,” head coach Michael Harvey said of his players, who clinched the Dick Niclai championship in thrilling fashion on Friday night, beating Fortuna 38-37 at Lumberjack Arena. “They have resolve, and they will never give up. They will fight for what they want.”
They certainly fought on Friday night, overcoming a seven-point deficit in the final minute on the way to the championship.
Freshman Claire Maples got the rally started, before Kellina Pratton and McKenna Beach nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Loggers a one-point advantage, all of this within 30 seconds after Eureka had been held to just four field goals for the previous 23 minutes.
Check out the dramatic late rally and the postgame celebrations here …
Fortuna’s Charlotte Carroll then gave her team the lead again, before a Malia Guilbert basket gave it right back to Eureka with just under seven seconds remaining.
The game was a thrilling defensive battle, and the third time this week the Loggers have battled back to claim victory.
“We really fight adversity,” senior Sophia Chalmers said afterwards. “We are a comeback team. We never give up.”
Chalmers, who has been a catalyst for the Loggers all season long, added a game-clinching steal in the dying seconds.
Pratton also was instrumental in the comeback, scoring five fourth-quarter points off the bench, as well as forcing the turnover that led to Beach’s late 3-pointer, and then assisting on Guilbert’s game-winning score.
The championship will send the Loggers into next week’s Division-III section playoffs with plenty of confidence after the team struggled down the stretch of the regular season, losing four of its final five games.
A players’ only meeting late last week helped turn around their fortunes.
“We had to regroup,” Chalmers said. “And to say to ourselves ‘we really want this, this is our year.’”
For more on the game, see Eureka girls dig deep to claim Niclai title …