By Ray Hamill — The H-DNL is forging ahead without fans and without many players right now, so it’s become a little more difficult to gauge exactly which are the top five teams here on the North Coast.
But we all love a good challenge, so here we go.
According to MaxPreps, the St. Bernard’s girls are ranked No. 23 overall in the North Coast Section, while a deep Eureka team is now four spots back at No. 27.
But which is actually better?
Both teams have impressed through the first half of the season and both should only continue to improve, especially when they get their full complement of players back.
And regardless of what MaxPreps or Humboldt Sports might think, we’ll all get a clearer picture of which is a true No. 1 when they meet at St. Bernard’s on Jan. 29.
The two crosstown rivals may also meet later in the season in the Dick Niclai tournament.
Arcata and Ferndale, meanwhile, also expect to be in the mix for a league title and more this season.
The Wildcats are the No. 1 ranked Division-6 team in the NCS, just two spots ahead of South Fork, and that, coupled with SB’s high ranking, should make for an intriguing battle for the Little 4 in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, McKinleyville got the better of a shorthanded Fortuna team and the two Big 5 rivals are now 1-1 against each other this year.
1 — Eureka (12-6)
The Loggers had just six players this week and still went 2-0 to open the Big 5.
2 — St. Bernard’s (7-2)
The Crusaders will be tough to stop in the Little 4 and in the Dick Niclai.
3 — Arcata (7-5)
The Tigers have yet to play a league game, but a young team is coming together quickly.
4T — Ferndale (8-2)
The No. 5 Division-6 team in California could make some serious noise in the playoffs this season.
4T — McKinleyville (5-6)
Wednesday’s win over Fortuna was a pivotal one for the Panthers in regard to potential NCS and Niclai seedings.
4T — Fortuna (8-10)
The Huskies are 0-2 in the Big 5 but they’ll be dangerous when they have all of their players back.