By Ray Hamill — It’s been an exciting week for Eureka boys basketball, albeit one with mixed fortunes.
After beating Del Norte 61-53 in overtime in Crescent City on Tuesday night for the first time in several years, the Loggers followed that with a two-point loss, 51-49, in an exciting showdown at Fortuna on Thursday.
And the excitement isn’t likely to subside much this weekend, when they host their crosstown rivals St. Bernard’s as one of six games at Jay Willard Gymnasium on Saturday.
The Loggers have struggled in terms of wins and losses this season, but they have played in a number of close games and the players always seem to be up for the challenge.
“They’ve been locked in,” head coach Jimmy Rodgers said. “They love to compete and they don’t quit. They never let up. Each game has been a battle.”
At 1-5 in the Big 5 (9-12 overall), the Loggers’ chances of a Dick Niclai Tournament berth are all but done, but they remain well in the chase for a North Coast Section playoff spot as the No. 14 team in Division 4, according to MaxPreps.
The Eureka boys have remaining home games against league frontrunners Arcata and McKinleyville next week and Rodgers said his players are fired up about both of those matchups, especially seeing as those games will be their final ever in the iconic gym, with the team moving into the new home next season.
“We want to knock off Arcata,” the head coach said. “We can’t let them go undefeated. Somebody’s got to knock them off and that’s what we’re looking to do.
“We really want to go after Arcata, and after that we also have a score to settle with McKinleyville.”
To do so, they’ll need their experienced players to continue to set the tone and a couple of young sophomores to continue to play the way they have been recently.
After just being called up from the JVs, sophomore Elijah Estrada has had an immediate impact, scoring 29 points in two games this week.
Jahmil Rippey also is playing well and added 20 points in the two games this week.
Senior Hans Chalmers is enjoying another big season with the team and scored a team-high 17 points to lead the way at Del Norte, which is never an easy place to win at.
“It’s a tough place to play, Del Norte,” Rodgers said. “And they went up there and proved to themselves they can play with anybody.”
Jordan Urban added 12 points in the win, while Donovan Millender had eight points.
At Fortuna, meanwhile, Kaiyani Dixon pulled down six rebounds, while Jamin Guilbert had four boards, as he continues to provide a presence in the paint.
The players will now turn their attention to the Crusaders, whom they host tomorrow.
The busy day gets under way at noon with the Eureka freshmen girls playing McKinleyville, followed by the SB and Eureka freshmen boys, JV girls and boys, and varsity girls and boys.
It will be senior night for the Eureka varsity girls, who tip off at 6 p.m., with the boys following at 7:30 p.m.
The Eureka boys will be looking to secure the regular-season sweep over the Crusaders after beating them 64-60 at the Logger Classic in December.
Categories: Basketball, Eureka
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