COLLEGE BASKETBALL — Former H-DNL players get set for postseason tournaments

Santa Cruz Athletics – Kaylee Murphy

By Ray Hamill — It’s going to be a big week on the college basketball courts for several local players, with postseason tournaments tipping off.

Up in Washington, Kaylie McCracken and the highly-ranked Whitman College women’s team are the frontrunners for the Northwest Conference tournament after the Blues wrapped up a perfect 16-0 conference record.

McCracken, an Arcata High graduate, has played a pivotal role this season for the Blues, who are 24-1 overall and the No. 6 ranked Division-III team in the nation.

McCracken, a senior forward, leads the team with 17.3 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, and she recently joined the program’s prestigious 1,000-point club.

The Blues open tourney play on Thursday against George Fox.

Former Eureka Logger Kaylee Murphy also will be in action this week as the Santa Cruz women begin play at the Coast to Coast Championship on Friday.

Murphy, who recently set a new career rebounds record for the Banana Slugs in just her junior season, had back-to-back 20-plus point games to close out the regular season.

She is averaging 14.7 points and 13 rebounds a game and has 11 double-doubles on the season, including finishing with 23 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in a 67-57 win over Simpson over the weekend.

The D-III Slugs are 15-3 on the season and ranked just outside the top-25 nationally.

Two other former H-DNL standouts have also qualified for the postseason with Simpson University and will play in the Cal Pac tournament, which tips off on Sunday.  

Arcata’s Breesia Northern, who played two years at College of the Redwoods before joining the Red Hawks, and Eureka’s Kayla Bonomini have both played big roles for the NAIA team, which qualified for the postseason tournament on Tuesday.

Whitman College Athletics – Kaylie McCracken was recently honored by the Blues for joining the 1,000-point club at the school.

Northern has been a force for the Red Hawks, who closed out the regular season 9-16, and she leads the team in scoring (10.8 points a game), as well as assists (74 this season) and steals (34).

Bonomini, meanwhile, has been a big contributor off the bench and is averaging 5.6 points a game, which is fourth best on the team, while also leading the team in 3-point field goal percentage (42 percent).

Another former H-DNL player, Fortuna’s Charlotte Carroll, also is coming off an impressive season playing at Lewis & Clark College, where she averaged 8 points and 5.5 rebounds a game, the latter of which was second best on the team.

Carroll, a sophomore forward, started in 20 games and appeared in 24 for the Pioneers, who closed out the season 11-14.

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