For now, however, this group of upcoming players will have to endure some growing pains, with just one player returning from last season with any real varsity experience.
“We’re still trying to figure out what we’ve got right now,” head coach Robbie Thompson said after his team lost its season opener 59-39 at Arcata on Tuesday night. “It’s going to be a learning season.”
Talented all-around athlete Jackson Giacone is back to lead the way, but the junior standout is the only starter to return from last season, with a number of players opting out this spring.
That, however, hasn’t dampened any enthusiasm.
“We’ve got a good group that like each other and they come out every day and they work,” Thompson said.
The Eureka boys came out strong early on against an experienced Arcata team on Tuesday, but the home team took control with a big second quarter and never looked back, outscoring the Loggers in each of the final three quarters.
“They played real hard and smart in the first half,” Thompson said of his players. “And then I think we just ran out of legs.”
Like with many teams around the league, it’s been a quick turnaround for the athletes in an unusual COVID season, with just a practice or two before the opening game.
Many of the players were playing different sports as recently as a few days ago.
“I was proud of their effort,” Thompson said. “A lot of these guys are coming in from different sports.
“We’re super young, but we’ve got a bunch of good sophomores.”
Caden Vance, who saw limited time on the varsity team last season, began the new campaign with a solid performance, scoring a team-high 12 points.
Donovan Millender also started the season strong with seven points, while Giacone had six.
“I thought Donovan played real well for us,” the coach said. “I told him today I’ve got to get him more minutes.
Chalmers and Kyro Jimenez each scored four in the loss.
The Loggers host South Fork on Thursday night and play St. Bernard’s on Saturday.