Arcata

League championships could be decided in big week for H-DN basketball

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – McKinleyville’s Jordan Brown and the Panthers will play three games in five days this week.

By Ray Hamill — Two of the four H-DN basketball league championships could be decided this week, with some key games on tap as we head into the final two weeks of the regular season.

In the Big 5, the Eureka girls and Arcata boys lead the way with unbeaten records, and each could clinch the championship outright before the week is out.

The Arcata boys are 5-0 and have a bye in league play on Tuesday night, but a victory at their closest challengers McKinleyville on Thursday would guarantee them at least a share of the title, and they could claim it outright depending on how other results go.

The Panthers are 3-1 in league play heading into a key Tuesday night showdown at Fortuna and essentially must win out to keep their title hopes alive.

It will be a busy week for the Panthers, who play three games in five days, but if they can come through that run unscathed they would leapfrog the Tigers in the standings to set up an exciting final few days in league play next week.

In the girls Big 5, Eureka appears to be cruising towards the pennant and can clinch at least a share of it as early as Wednesday, if they beat Del Norte and Fortuna upsets McKinleyville.

The Loggers are 4-0 in league and Del Norte and McKinleyville are their closest challengers with identical 3-2 records.

The latter two teams must win out and hope for some help if they are to have any hope of a championship, while the Loggers need just two wins in their final four games to claim at least a share of the crown, which seems very likely.

The Eureka girls, who also host Fortuna on Friday night, have won three of their opening four league games by double digits.

In the Little 4, the St. Bernard’s boys can claim at least a share of the title with a win at South Fork on Thursday night in what will be another big showdown.

If it’s anything like last year’s game between these two teams in Miranda, which saw the home rally late before winning in overtime, then it’s one local fans won’t want to miss.

The Crusaders sit atop the standings with a record of 3-0, while the Cubs are 2-1.

Laila Florvilus and the St. Bernard’s girls lad the way in the Little 4 standings.

Both teams will close out league play with a pair of games next week, so the championship can’t be finalized until then.

The race for the Little 4 girls title is the only one that appears set to go down to the final night of the season, although Hoopa will be hoping to change that.

A surging St. Bernard’s team that has won six of seven games against Big 5 teams this winter got the better of Ferndale in Eureka last week to take a one-game lead over the Wildcats in the L4 standings.

Both teams are scheduled to face off in Ferndale next week in the regular-season finale for each, and providing they can each take care of business against South Fork and Hoopa between now and then, that game will decide the fate of this year’s championship and either give SB the title outright or allow Ferndale to share the pennant.

Hoopa, however, pushed the Cats all the way in a one-point loss last week, so the Warriors appear well capable of winning when they play at Ferndale on Friday night.

The race for Dick Niclai tournament berths in all four leagues also looks set to go down to the final week, with the top three finishers in each league qualifying for the popular H-DN postseason tournament.

Several games will be broadcast on local radio this week, including Tuesday’s big game between the Huskies and Panthers at Fortuna, as well as Thursday’s Little 4 boys game in Miranda, each of which will be on MIX 95.1 FM

The Del Norte games will also be broadcast live on KPOD 97.9 FM as well as on DelNorteSports.com.

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