By Ray Hamill — College basketball will make a welcome return to the North Coast for the first time in more than 20 months this weekend.
Both the Humboldt State men’s and women’s teams will play home exhibition games, the first at Lumberjack Arena since early 2020.
The HSU women will play Southern Oregon on Friday at 5:30 p.m., while the HSU men will play their annual Green and Gold Scrimmage on Saturday at 1 p.m., and spectators will be permitted at both games.
For the HSU women, this week’s game will be the first for the team since early March of last year.
The Humboldt State men’s team did play nine games in the spring, all of them on the road, and finished 4-5.
This year’s teams will also feature a pair of local standouts, with former Arcata and College of the Redwoods men’s star Thomas Nelson joining the Jacks men’s team.
Former Del Norte standout Jadence Clifton will also debut this weekend with the women’s team after the 2021 Warriors graduate joined the program right out of high school.
“We are very excited to finally have competition,” HSU women’s head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson said this week. “Not only will our girls be putting on uniforms for the first time in a very long time, but they will all be putting on Humboldt State uniforms for the first time ever as they are all new to HSU.”
Men’s head coach Tae Norwood is just as excited to see his squad return to action.
“I am excited for the opportunity to FINALLY have a home opener in Lumberjack Arena,” he said. “I expect the environment to be electrifying after the one-year layoff due to the pandemic.”
After this weekend, the men’s team will travel to play Western Washington and Simon Fraser in Carson in two weeks, before their first official game at home against Lincoln University on Nov. 20.
The HSU women, meanwhile, will travel to play Western Washington (Nov. 12), Seattle Pacific (Nov. 13) and Dominican University (Nov. 17) before hosting Dominican on Nov. 27.