By Ray Hamill — The great Arcata girls basketball dynasty of recent years did more than just win championships. It produced collegiate ball players, and a lot of them.
This week alone, four members of the 2016/17 team are all involved in playoff games with their respective college teams, and all of them are having a huge impact at the next level, a testament to how former Arcata girls head coach Dusty Scofield helped prepare his players to move on.
Two of those players, Ashley Quigley and Bree Northern, are enjoying MVP-caliber seasons at College of the Redwoods, while Kaylie McCracken has been hugely influential at Whitman College, and Vanessa Holland has enjoyed another good year at Chico State.
All four developed the winning habit together while playing three years side-by-side for the Tigers, who remarkably won a Big 5 and Dick Niclai tournament double in six straight seasons from 2013 to 2018, a record that most likely will never be topped.
Scofield coached the Tigers for five of those years, with Doug Oliveira taking over in 2017/18.
Holland, Quigley, Northern and McCracken each played on four double-winning teams.
Holland’s season at Chico State came to an end on Tuesday, when the Wildcats fell 78-53 at Cal State East Bay in the opening round of the CCAA tournament.
But the 2017 Arcata graduate continues to have an impact in Chico, with a season-highlight game-winning 3-pointer at Humboldt State last week on her return to the North Coast.
Quigley and Northern, meanwhile, will both be in action this Saturday night, when the Corsairs travel with the CR women for a state Sweet 16 matchup at San Joaquin Delta College.
Each has played a pivotal role in the Corsairs’ historic season, which saw them win a first conference championship in 40 years and a home playoff game last weekend.
Quigley, a 2017 Arcata graduate who returned to the court this winter, has had an immediate impact as a freshman at CR, and was recently named third-team all-state.
Northern graduated from Arcata in 2018 and was named first-team all-conference this season.
McCracken also has played a major role for the top-ranked Blues, who closed out the regular season No. 7 in the nation and will open the NCAA Division-III tournament on Friday against Wheaton.
McCracken, who also graduated Arcata in 2018, was an all-conference honorable mention this winter after finishing second in the league in field goal percentage (53.7) and third on the Blues with 11.1 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game.
All four former Tigers continue to inspire, and they’re not alone.
The Eureka High girls team of 2016/17 also currently has three players playing at the collegiate level, including UC Santa Cruz’s Kaylee Murphy, Oregon Tech’s Makaila Napoleon, and Dodge City College’s Alana Busby-Dunphy, each of whom saw an impressive season come to an end recently.
Busby-Dunphy, who will play at Alabama next season, also played one year at Arcata High, as a high school freshman during the 2014/15 season.
A fourth member of the 2016/17 Eureka team, Dorshaela Wesson, recently announced she will be playing at CR next season.
That’s a lot of local players taking their game to the next level and enjoying plenty of success there too.