BIG 5 ROUNDUP — Loggers win big; Tigers close out strong

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Action from Thursday’s game at Eureka.

The Eureka Loggers finally broke their streak of close games.

After four straight tight contests, three of which they lost, the Eureka boys enjoyed their second best offensive performance of the season with an 81-54 win at home to McKinleyville.

Elsewhere in the Big 5 on Thursday, Arcata closed out a perfect league campaign with their 15th straight league victory, 67-33 at home to Del Norte.

The win for the Loggers lifts them to 2-6 in the Big 5 and 10-14 overall, but they were eliminated from playoff consideration because they do not meet the NCS criteria of at least a .500 record in league, or overall, or within their division.

On Senior Night, the Loggers came out on fire and never relented, ending the game as a contest early and opening up a commanding 40-16 lead by halftime.

Jordan Urban, one of seven seniors honored before tip off, finished with a team-high 19 points, while fellow senior Evan Hodges was equally effective and added 16 points.

Both seniors closed out their high school strong and they weren’t the only ones.

Another senior, Hans Chalmers, also had a big performance in his final high school game and added 15 points.

Donovan Millender, Caden Vance, Jamin Guilbert and Kaiyani Dixon were the team’s other seniors, all of whom had a big impact on the younger players this season.

“The seniors wanted to go out with a bang, and boy did they,” head coach Jimmy Rodgers said.

An emotional Jahmil Rippey, a sophomore, spoke to the team after the game and thanked all the seniors for what they meant to him and the younger players on the team.

Rippey added 13 points for the Loggers.

The loss won’t affect the Panthers’ league positioning.

They came into the game guaranteed second place in the Big 5 and a home game against Fortuna in the opening round of the Dick Niclai Tournament on Monday, a game that will be broadcast live on MIX 95.1 FM.

Cody Whitmer scored a game-high 22 points in the loss, while Jack Clancy finished with 15 points and Justin Wells chipped in 14.

Influential Mack junior Jordan Brown was sidelined with an injury for the second straight game, which didn’t help matters.

With the loss, the Panthers closed out league play 5-3 and are now 19-6 overall.

Arcata 67, Del Norte 33

The Tigers started strong and never looked back on their way to completing a perfect league campaign with a comfortable win over the Warriors.

Luke Moxon scored a team-high 20 points in the win, as Arcata improved to 8-0 in the Big 5 and 16-6 overall.

The win was their 10th straight.

The team’s two seniors, Brandon Bento-Jackson and Josiah Gomez, were honored before the game after leading the way on a young roster this winter.

“Credit to my two seniors, tonight was about them,” head coach Kellen Maynard said. “They led us to back-to-back league championships and I was so proud of them and their effort and what they’ve given to this program.”

Bento-Jackson scored 12 points in the win, as did teammate Kalani Butor, while Luke Lemke finished with six points and Dayquan Dunn and Finn Warner each had four points.

For Del Norte, Ethan Thomas continued to impress and scored a game-high 22 points, but no other player managed more than three points.

“I give Del Norte a lot of credit,” Maynard said. “They played as hard as they could tonight, but when we play our best basketball I feel like we’re a very tough team.”

The Del Norte boys close out league play 1-7 and are 8-16 overall.

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