Put the celebrations on ice, for at least a couple more days.
On Tuesday night, the Fortuna Huskies defeated the Eureka Loggers 47-45, handing them their first loss in the Big 5 and preventing them from claiming at least a share of this year’s championship, for now.
And they did it with an incredible finish, pulling out a come-from-behind victory with three points in the final 0.8 seconds of the game.
“It was a thrilling game and very intense,” Fortuna head coach Tom Chapman said. “The girls played their best defensive game of the year when it really mattered the most.”
With her team trailing by one in the dying seconds, Fortuna’s Ronnee Norwood was fouled and went to the line with 0.8 seconds on the clock.
Norwood nailed her first attempt but missed the second, only for teammate Isobel Crosswhite to grab the rebound and get off a shot for the game winning basket as time expired.
“It was a great team effort,” Chapman said. “I’m super proud of the girls. It took a complete team effort for us to win.”
The loss drops the Loggers to 5-1 in the Big 5 with two games remaining, while second-placed Arcata improved to 3-2 with a 65-42 win at McKinleyville on Tuesday.
The Loggers still control their own destiny and can clinch the title with a victory over Arcata at Eureka on Thursday.
A win for the Tigers, however, would make things very interesting going into the final week of the league campaign.
Crosswhite scored a game-high 20 points in Tuesday’s win, while Kylee Fennell finished with 10 points and Eunice Casas had eight, including six in the fourth quarter.
Norwood set the tempo defensively with a big performance marking Eureka’s McKenna Beach.
Kira Morris scored a team-high 18 points for the Loggers, while Beach and Aniah Gaither each had seven points and Amaya Gee finished with six.
The win, coupled with McKinleyville’s loss, also gives the Huskies sole possession of third place in the Big 5 standings and in position to take one of the three conference berths for the Dick Niclai tournament.
Fortuna is now 3-3 in the Big 5 and 11-11 overall, while Eureka dropped to 15-8 overall.
St. Bernard’s 42, Del Norte 32
The St. Bernard’s girls improved to 4-1 against Big 5 teams this season with a 10-point win at Del Norte on Tuesday night.
Lele Tanuvasa scored a game-high 25 points in the win and led a strong defensive performance by the Crusaders.
“I think we played pretty good team defense tonight,” head coach Augie Valdez said. “Lele showed a lot of leadership.”
Madelyn Shanahan also helped set the tone for the visitors, and “continued to play rock solid,” according to her head coach.
Shanahan finished with five points, while teammates Laila Florvilus and Jocelyn Sundberg each chipped in four points.
“I think tonight we did a really good job controlling the tempo (offensively),” Valdez said. “We took the fast breaks when we had them, and when we didn’t we tried to work our offense as best we could.”
Lili Nunez led the home team with 12 points, while Anyessa Bettega finished with eight points and Gianna Taylor five.
With the win, the Crusaders are now 9-4, while Del Norte dropped to 6-13.
Next up, the Warriors host Fortuna on Thursday, while the Crusaders host Eureka on Saturday.