BOYS POWER RANKINGS — Who’s No. 1 after a wild week in the H-DNL?

Ray Hamill/ – McKinleyville’s Jordan Brown, right, guards Arcata’s Brandon Bento-Jackson during Thursday night’s big game at Mack High.

By Ray Hamill — To say that COVID has changed everything this year is a huge understatement, but at least most of the games are still going ahead, and that’s something we should be grateful for.

The Arcata Tigers came into the week as the No. 14 team overall in the North Coast Section, according to MaxPreps, but then lost to a McKinleyville team that keeps finding ways to win games.

The Tigers were playing without league MVP candidate Kai Purcell, which made a big difference, but you’ve also got to give plenty of credit to the Panthers, who are playing outstanding defense and are now the frontrunners in the Big 5.

Del Norte is another team playing very good defense and it suddenly appears to be an intriguing three-horse (or four-horse?) race for the Big 5 championship, not to mention the three Dick Niclai berths.

At the very least, there’s a very fine line separating Arcata, Del Norte and McKinleyville as we head towards the business end of the season, and local fans have to love that.

The St. Bernard’s Crusaders, meanwhile, surprisingly dropped their Little 4 opener at Hoopa, but were without two key starters and will still be considered favorites in conference and a serious contender for the Dick Niclai tournament.

That loss, however, throws the door open for a dangerous South Fork team that could be the most underrated in the H-DNL right now.


1T — Arcata (13-3)

When they’re at full strength, the Tigers could be the best team in the H-DNL, but they did lose to Mack this week.

1T — Del Norte (10-3)

The Warriors will get a chance to make their case for sole possession of No. 1 in the rankings when they travel to Arcata for a pivotal game on Thursday.

1T — McKinleyville (10-4)

The Panthers are 2-0 in the Big 5 and 5-0 against H-DNL opposition this season.

4 — St. Bernard’s (11-3)

The Crusaders will bounce back from this week’s loss, make no mistake about it.

5T — Eureka (6-9)

The Loggers have won five of their last seven games and are building momentum at a crucial time of the season.

5T — South Fork (7-1)

Don’t sleep on the Cubs, who are the No. 9 Division-6 team in California and No. 5 in the NCS.

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