The McKinleyville Panthers kept their championship hopes alive and well with a hard-fought victory over Del Norte at Mack High on Wednesday night.
The Panthers rallied from a five-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 46-44 win and improved to 2-0 in the Big 5 and 6-6 overall.
In other girls games on Wednesday night, the Arcata Tigers also rallied in the second half to beat Fortuna 49-44 for their first league win, while the St. Bernard’s Crusaders got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 73-34 win at South Fork.
Arcata 49, Fortuna 44
The Tigers stepped up in the fourth quarter of an exciting and closely fought contest to pull out their first league win and go to 1-2 in the Big 5 and 8-7 overall.
The Talty sisters, Grace and Nora, were instrumental once again in the victory as was the team’s second-half defense.
“We turned the ball way too much early in the game,” Arcata head coach Doug Oliveira said. “But somehow we were able to stay in reach and I was pleased with the way we fought back.”
Sophomore Nora Talty continued to impress and scored a game-high 20 points in the win, while senior Grace Talty added 13 points.
“In the second half, I was much more pleased with how we played defense,” said Oliveira, whose team allowed just 17 points over the final two quarters.
Isobel Crosswhite scored a team-high 14 points for Fortuna, while Gabby Stephens chipped in nine points.
Check out some of the first-half highlights below, as the game was played in front of no fans …
“It was a great high school basketball game,” Fortuna head coach Tom Chapman said. “Both teams played their hearts out.”
Fortuna got the better of the early exchanges and led for much of the first half.
“I was proud of how hard our team played,” Chapman said. “We did a good job defensively. Arcata made some clutch shots down the stretch and beat us by getting offensive rebounds.”
Nora Talty was particularly clutch down the stretch, nailing a big-time 3-pointer and quickly following that with a steal and another basket for the Tigers’ final five points of the game.
Trinity Hamm also stepped up in the victory, coming off the bench and grabbing some key rebounds.
Fortuna dropped to 1-3 in the Big 5 and 9-11 overall.
McKinleyville 46, Del Norte 44
Morgan Stubbs led the way with 14 points and numerous big rebounds as the Panthers played for the first time in two weeks and got a key league win over Del Norte.
The Mack girls trailed by 13 at halftime, but rallied in the second half and outscored the visitors 30-15 over the final two periods.
With the victory, the Mack girls are now 2-0 in the Big 5, just one win behind league leaders Eureka, and 6-6 overall.
McKinleyville’s Kathryn Tinney also had a big night and finished with 12 points, while teammate Camryn Pinard chipped in seven points.
Lili Nunez scored a game-high 16 points to lead the way for the Warriors, who dropped to 1-3 in the B5 and 6-11 overall, while teammate Anyessa Bettega added eight points and Katherine Young six points.
St. Bernard’s 73, South Fork 34
Lele Tanuvasa led a balanced St. Bernard’s offense with a game-high 22 points, as the Crusaders improved to 2-1 in the Little 4 and quickly put last week’s loss to Ferndale behind them.
“This was probably one of the better games we’ve played all season,” St. Bernard’s head coach Augie Valdez said. “The last three days we really got after it in practice and really made some improvements.”
The ever-consistent Madelyn Shanahan also had a good night and continued to work well with Tanuvasa, giving the Crusaders a potent pairing.
Shanahan scored eight points, while teammate Laila Florvilus finished with 11 points.
Rihanna Fontenot, Emma Wilson, Mataya Amen-Sherman and Addisyn Burris each finished with six points in the win, as the SB girls improved to 8-3 overall.
South Fork matched up well early on, but the game quickly got away from them in the second half.
The Cubs, who dropped to 0-2 in the Little 4 and 8-4 overall, were led offensively by Summer Contreras, who finished with nine points.
Macy Yarbrough added seven points and Caidence Young finished with six.