The Eureka Loggers bowed out of the Division-III North Coast Section basketball playoffs at Campolindo in Moraga on Friday night, falling 62-51.
The game was close throughout, with the home team not pulling away until late, outscoring the visitors 24-15 in the fourth.
“We played really well,” Eureka head coach Michael Harvey said. “We played aggressive, we played smart and we played with a lot of heart.”
The seniors closed out their high school careers with a solid effort despite the loss, most notably Carly Boynton, who finished with a team-high 15 points and scored in all four quarters.
“Carly played a phenomenal game,” Harvey said. “But all the girls played really hard.”
Fellow senior Sophia Chalmers added 13 points for Eureka, which closed out the season 21-10, while senior Malia Guilbert chipped in seven.
“I’m just so proud of the seniors and the whole team,” Harvey said. “They never gave up.
“It really was an honor for all us coaches to be here with this group. And I think they overachieved and did some great things this year.”
The Eureka girls certainly enjoyed a season for the ages, coming together down the stretch and winning the Dick Niclai championship in thrilling fashion after overcoming a seven-point deficit in the final minute.
It was just the program’s second-ever Niclai championship and a first since 2004.
And it was achieved by a tight-knit group.
“It sounds cliched, but they really were family,” assistant coach Jesse Genaro said after Friday’s game. “The girls are just so tight, they have each other’s backs and they battled for everything.
“We were family. It was the closest group I’ve ever been around.”
They will be remembered most for their Niclai heroics.
“They had a ton of character,” Genaro said. “Like we told them, they’re Niclai champs and a part of history, and that can never be taken away from them.”
Junior Bella Vigil and sophomore McKenna Beach each capped an outstanding season with another big performance at Campolindo,
Vigil finished with nine points and Beach seven.
There was a noticeable difference at the free-throw line, where the home team hit on 24-of-30 attempts, while the Loggers managed just 8-of-20.
The Loggers will graduate four influential seniors — a group that also includes Kellina Pratton — but should return plenty of talent next year, most notably at the defensive end, where the tenacious trio of Vigil, Beach and Keylei Carroll set the tone all season long.