By Ray Hamill — It’s no surprise to see that the Arcata Tigers are the highest ranked local boys basketball team, according to MaxPreps, as they get set to open the Big 5 on Thursday night.
The high-flying Tigers, who are 13-2 on the season, tip off league play at McKinleyville and will be the favorites to win this year’s Big 5.
They’ll also be expected to make a deep playoff run and are currently the No. 1 ranked Division-4 team in the section and riding high as the No. 4 ranked D-4 team in the state.
According to the rankings, the Del Norte Warriors look like the Tigers’ closest challengers.
The Warriors, who have also impressed on the way to a 10-3 record, are No. 5 in NCS Division-4, ahead of No. 9 McKinleyville (9-4), No. 14 Eureka (5-9) and No. 16 Fortuna (7-9).
That currently gives the H-DNL five teams in the top 16 in Division 4.
The St. Bernard’s Crusaders are also highly ranked in the section and state.
The Crusaders, who are 11-2 and favorites to win the Little 4, are the No. 2 Division-6 team in the section (behind No. 1 San Francisco Waldorf) and the No. 3 D-6 team in all of California.
A dangerous South Fork team will be expected to challenge the Crusaders in the Little 4 and is No. 5 in the section in D-6 and No. 10 in the state.
Overall in the section, Arcata is now ranked No. 14, followed by No. 31 Del Norte, No. 45 St. Bernard’s and No. 56 McKinleyville.