By Ray Hamill — As head coach Mike Harvey says, this year’s Eureka girls basketball team could be pretty special.
On paper, it certainly appears so.
The Loggers have depth, versatility, star power and quality coaching, and barring a complete letdown they should contend for a Big 5 championship and more.
“We have three main goals,” Harvey said. “League, Niclai and to go as far as we possibly can in playoffs.”
Leading the way on a deep roster is senior McKenna Beach, a potential league MVP candidate, according to her coach.
Beach, who is also a standout softball player, is a captain of this year’s team along with junior Claire Maples, another multi-sport standout who is expected to play a major role inside and could also be an MVP candidate this season.
Senior Amaya Watson is also expected to provide some much-needed leadership, while juniors Amaya Gee and Aniah Gaither are both expected to follow on from a strong spring season and take their game to the next level.
“Aniah worked really hard all summer. I think she’s doing a great job for us,” Harvey said. “She can be a dominant force. The sky’s the limit for her.”
The Loggers, who are off to a 2-1 start, will play at the Placer High tournament this week, tipping off against River Valley on Thursday.
And Harvey is looking forward to the return of another standout junior, Kira Morris, who missed the team’s opening games because of softball commitments but is expected to play a big role on this year’s team as well.
“We’re excited to see her join the fold and we’re getting closer to a having a full roster,” Harvey said.
Both Morris and Beach were MVPs of the JV team as freshmen, but the biggest asset on this year’s team could be the bench depth, which will keep opposing teams on their toes for all four quarters.
“We’re incredibly deep,” the head coach said. “And we have players that can play multiple positions. Our bigs are quick and talented.”
It’s also a team that continues to bond.
“They seem to be really close knit,” the head coach added. “And they work hard in practice, and in games their character is very strong.
“If we can put it all together, I think we’re going to be quite strong.”
Harvey is also challenging his players early in the season, scheduling a number of competitive out-of-area tournaments against top competition.
This weekend’s Placer tourney features several programs that made it to the most recent NorCal tournament two years ago, while next week’s Maria Carrillo tournament will feature six Division-III teams.
“Next week is going to be brutal,” Harvey said. “And it’s going to be awesome.”
Another junior, Mariah Napoleon, also has been impressing early in the season after an outstanding fall on the volleyball court, while seniors Ellie Pesch and Payton Goodman have also played well early in the opening few games, as has junior Moriah Bowles.
Raymi Sharp rounds out a super-talented junior class of seven, while big things are also expected out of center Isis Poteet, the only sophomore on the roster.
“Anybody can have a good night for us on any night,” Harvey said. “We’ve got a lot of talent.”