The Loggers waited a long time for this game, and they didn’t disappoint.
In what was the most entertaining matchup of a busy night of basketball here on the North Coast, Cahliel Garner nailed a buzzer-beater to lift the Eureka boys to a 67-66 win over Fort Bragg in the opening round of the Division-IV NCS playoffs.
It was the first home playoff game for the Eureka boys in 11 years, and their first home playoff win in 12.
Garner was one of several seniors to step up and keep their season alive.
“They had a no-quit attitude. That strong mindset we’re been talking about,” Eureka head coach Robbie Thompson said of his seniors. “They kept their composure. I was proud to be a part of it.”
The seniors were pivotal in what was a back-and-forth game, with Garner, Trevor Bell and Jaeden Thayer all particularly instrumental.
Trailing by one in the final seconds, Bell got the winning play in motion, passing off to Thayer, who took a couple of dribbles before kicking the ball out to Garner, who made no mistake with the winning attempt.
Thayer was the player of the game, finishing just one assist from a triple-double.
The senior had 19 points, eight of them in the fourth quarter, as well as 14 rebounds and nine assists.
“He was a beast out there tonight,” Thompson said. “And his defense was right on.”
Bell added 16 points, while CJ Chaidez and Garner each chipped in 14, the latter scoring all of his in the second half after getting in early foul trouble.
With the win, the No. 8 seed Loggers will advance to play at No. 1 Piedmont on Saturday night.