The Arcata Tigers and Del Norte Warriors moved into a two-way tie atop the Big 5 standings halfway through league play after key victories on Tuesday night.
The Tigers won 73-65 at Fortuna and the Warriors got the better of McKinleyville 47-38 in Crescent City, handing the Panthers their first loss in league play.
Both Arcata and Del Norte are now 3-1 in the Big 5, while McKinleyville is 2-1.
“I thought our defense was pretty tough tonight,” Arcata head coach Kellen Maynard said. “Once we locked in on defense we were pretty tough.”
That’s been the story for the Tigers this season, as have the recent slow starts, although part of that was down to how fast the Huskies came out.
“We didn’t start very well again,” Maynard said. “Fortuna came out and kind of punched us in the mouth early and played with a lot of energy.”
The Tigers, however, took control in the second quarter, stretching a two-point advantage to 20.
Kai Purcell led a very balanced scoring performance in the win and finished with 13 points, while teammate Brandon Bento-Jackson scored 11.
Carson Tucker, Josiah Gomez and Alex Jioras each scored 10 points, while Shane Purcell chipped in nine.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 16-3 overall.
Jordin Bourne led the way for the Huskies, who dropped to 0-4 in the Big 5 and 8-13 overall.
Bourne scored a game-high 25 points, while teammate Alfonso Medina scored 17 and Russell Pascascio finished with 10 points.
Del Norte 47, McKinleyville 38
Edwin Zepeda led a balanced Del Norte offense with 11 points in the win, as the Warriors took control of the game in the second half.
The Panthers led by three at halftime, but the Warriors would outscore them 29-17 after the interval.
And once again it was the Del Norte defense that paved the way to victory.
Adriel Horton continued his impressive run for the Warriors and finished with 10 points, while teammate Konner Price finished with nine points on three 3s, including a pair of early 3s to help get his team started.
Nani Scott added eight points in the win, while teammate Ethan Thomas had another good night defensively.
“In the second half we stepped up with great defense and patience versus their zone,” Del Norte head coach Cris Rice said.
The Warriors, whose only league loss came at Arcata, improved to 12-4 overall.
Carson Parker led McKinleyville with 10 points, as the Panthers dropped to 10-5 overall.
Jack Clancy added nine points, Owen Hamm seven and Jordan Brown six.
Eureka 63, St. Bernard’s 53
Caden Vance scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Loggers to a non-conference win over their crosstown rivals at Eureka High on Tuesday night.
Vance, who is enjoying a big season for the Loggers and is showing no signs of slowing down, also did a good job marking St. Bernard’s Owen Shanahan.
“He had a phenomenal game,” St. Bernard’s head coach Issac Gildea said of Vance. “He’s a good kid and he plays hard.”
The win was a good one for the Loggers, who came to play and took care of business.
“I thought we played good fundamental team basketball tonight,” Eureka head coach Jimmy Rodgers said. “And we played with high energy.”
Jordan Urban added 18 points for the Loggers, who improved to 7-10, while teammates Jamin Gilbert and Payton Harbin each also had a big night in the paint.
Drew Vizenor led the way offensively for St. Bernard’s and finished with 16 points, while Shanahan had 12 points and Aidan Dorsch 10.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well, we didn’t guard the post well, and we didn’t get in the lane,” Gildea said. “Our team has to do a better job paying attention to details and I’ve got to do a better job coaching.”
Seth Dyer added seven points and Peyton Smith six as St. Bernard’s dropped to 12-4 on the season.