After dropping their Big 5 opener at McKinleyville a few weeks back, the Arcata Tigers knew there was little room for error the remainder of the way if they were to win a league championship this year.
On Friday night, they capped a seven-game winning streak in league play with a 67-48 win at home to Fortuna and clinched the league title outright.
Just two days after they had won at least a share of the league crown with a clutch performance at Del Norte, there was no letdown at home to Fortuna on senior night.
“It’s just a testament to what the guys do,” head coach Kellen Maynard said. “They go to work every day. They deserve it. They work their trails off.”
Brandon Bento-Jackson paced the Tigers offensively with a team-high 20 points, as they came out slow but quickly took control of the game in the third quarter.
“I think we had a bit of a hangover from Wednesday, and then we had the festivities from senior night, and the JV game went to overtime,” Maynard said. “And give Fortuna credit. They came out and went stride for stride with us for the first half.”
Once again, it was the Arcata defense that got the team going.
“We hang our hat on defense,” the head coach said. “In the third quarter, when we needed to, we got stops.”
Kai Purcell added 17 points in the win, while Sam Trewartha chipped in 11.
The Tigers honored their seven seniors before tip off, including Trewartha, Kai Purcell, Shane Purcell, Isaiah Levy, Carson Tucker, Alex Jioras and Cameron Klein.
“I’m just super proud of the seniors,” Maynard said. “They were ready for the challenge.”
The win also secures a No. 1 seed for next week’s Dick Niclai tournament and gives the Tigers a first-round bye and a home matchup in the semifinal round on Thursday.
The win lifts the Tigers to 21-3 on the season.
Fortuna was led offensively by standout sophomore Alfonso Medina, who scored a game-high 26 points, while teammate Russell Pascascio finished with 11 points.
A young Huskies team dropped to 10-16 overall and closed out league play 1-7.