It was a good night for several H-DNL teams in the opening round of the NCS playoffs on Wednesday, with four of the seven teams in action winning.
McKinleyville, St. Bernard’s, Del Norte and South Fork all won at home and all now advance to play Saturday quarterfinals, two of which will take place here on the North Coast.
Also in action on Wednesday night, the Eureka boys lost 49-31 at Justin-Siena in Division 4, while the Fortuna boys fell to University at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, also in Division 4.
In a surprise at Arcata High, the No. 2 seed Tigers fell 55-51 to No. 15 St. Joseph Notre Dame in D-4 action to end a memorable season that saw them win both the Big 5 and Dick Niclai tournament double.
“We picked this game to have our worst shooting performances of the season,” said Arcata head coach Kellen Maynard, whose team managed just 13 points in the first half.
Despite the disappointment, the head coach gave a shoutout to his seven seniors, who all played a major role in the team’s success this season.
“Just the impact they made and the legacy they left, it’s extremely hard to say goodbye to them,” Maynard said.
Alex Jioras scored a team-high 19 points in the loss, while Kai Purcell added 14 points.
The Tigers close out 23-4.
At Kezar Pavilion, Alfonso Medina and Jordin Bourne each had eight points for the Huskies, while Russell Pascascio finished with seven points.
McKinleyville 68, Fort Bragg 45
The Panthers started slowly and trailed for much of the opening quarter, but quickly took control of the game in the second period and rolled to a comfortable 23-point win at Mack High.
The visitors led 25-16 after the first quarter, but the home defense held them to just 20 points for the remainder of the game
The No. 5 seeds in the Division-4 bracket outscored No. 12 Fort Bragg 25-8 in the second quarter and led by eight at halftime.
Owen Hamm led a balance offensive performance that saw 10 of the 12 Mack players score.
Hamm scored 17, while Jack Clancy finished with 11 points, Cody Whitmer and Carson Parker each had 10 points, and Logan Maher six.
The win sets up a trip to No. 4 Justin-Siena on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Del Norte 45, Healdsburg 44
The No. 6 Warriors edged No. 11 Healdsburg in an exciting D-4 showdown in front of a loud and enthusiastic home crowd on Wednesday night.
Konner Price had a huge night and finished with a career-high 15 points, while Ethan Thomas continued to impress with another strong performance off the bench and chipped in 10 points.
Edwin Zepeda added seven points, while Nani Scott and Wyatt Robson each finished with five points, with the latter turning in a “huge” performance, according to head coach Cris Rice.
Once again, the entire team played some outstanding defense to help secure the win.
“Defense won the game,” Rice said.
The Warriors will play No. 3 University at Kezar Pavilion on Saturday.
St. Bernard’s 74, Calistoga 37
Drew Vizenor led the way as the No. 2 seed Crusaders comfortably took care of their opening round opponents at home on Wednesday night in Division 6.
Vizenor scored a game-high 29 points, including five 3-pointers, as the St. Bernard’s boys advance to host a quarterfinal against Mendocino on Saturday.
“Drew was on fire all night,” head coach Issac Gildea said.
Aaiden Burris also had a big night in the win, finishing with 15 points.
“Aaiden has been playing with passion and energy and making all the right plays,” Gildea said of the standout sophomore.
Peyton Smith and Seth Dyer each chipped in seven points and Owen Shanahan finished with five points.
South Fork 56, Emery 38
Tommy Rotbergs scored a team-high 15 points as the No. 1 seed Cubs advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal round in Division 6.
John Harding also had “great energy on both sides of the court and did a lot of extra things for us,” according to head coach Taylor Morrow.
The Cubs will host Saturday’s game, most likely at 7 p.m.