LITTLE 4 ROUNDUP — Cubs retain league title, as Cats win at SB

Photos by Shelly Barella – Action from Thursday’s game at Hoopa.

The South Fork Cubs didn’t have to wait quite as long this time around.

After ending a 29-year Little 4 championship drought a year ago, the South Fork boys made it two straight league titles on Thursday night with a 65-56 victory at Hoopa.

That result, coupled with a St. Bernard’s loss to Ferndale, ensured the Cubs clinched the championship outright and gives them the No. 1 seed for next week’s Dick Niclai Tournament.

The Cubs broke open a tight game with a big third quarter and never looked back in front of an enthusiastic and loud gymnasium.

“Incredible atmosphere tonight,” South Fork head coach Taylor Morrow said. “The crowd was really roaring and I’m really proud of my team’s composure down the stretch while Hoopa was going on a run.

“We didn’t lose it and freak out. We stayed calm and kept making plays and playing defense and not fouling out.”

It was a one-point game at halftime, but the Cubs outscored the Warriors 25-10 in the third quarter.

The home team rallied in the fourth but was unable to close the gap.

Tommy Rotbergs and John Harding each finished with 15 points in the win, while Shevy Bero-Vanmeter added nine points.

Ruben Lopez and Jonah Wansick each was instrumental off the bench with six and five points, respectively, while Jesus Duron continued to impress and was key down the stretch, scoring six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“This team is so fun to coach and I can’t wait for the postseason,” Morrow added. “It’s going to be a ton of fun.”

With the win, the Cubs close out league play 5-1 and are now 17-4 overall.

The Warriors dropped to 1-5 and 5-14 and saw their chances of qualifying for the Niclai tournament end.

“They had a strong third quarter against us and it took us too long to gather and we had to make a run to dig ourselves out of a hole,” Hoopa head coach Roman Hutt said. “We got really close but couldn’t quite fully capitalize on some advantageous situations.

“It was an exciting game, but it was a tough loss for the students.”

The Warriors will play at Del Norte on Saturday.

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

Ferndale 58, St. Bernard’s 50

The Wildcats ended a five-game losing streak at an opportune time, winning at St. Bernard’s.

The win guaranteed the Ferndale boys a place in next week’s Dick Niclai tournament, where they will face off against the Crusaders once again in Monday’s opening round.

The game was close throughout, with the visiting Cats holding a slender three-point lead at halftime and a two-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

But they kept playing hard down the stretch and outscored the home team 17-11 in the final period to secure the win.

And they did it with a balanced team performance

Braeden Rice, Jack Westfall and Wes Renner each scored a team-high 13 points, while Kannon Christiansen finished with nine points.

Renner stepped up big off the bench and nailed three 3-pointers to give his team a spark.

Seth Dyer scored a game-high 16 points for the Crusaders, who were playing once again without the injured Owen Shanahan, while Aaiden Burris had 13 points, Jack Stark had 11 and Liam Dyer eight.

“First off, Tristan Waters coached a great game,” St. Bernard’s head coach Issac Gildea said of his counterpart. “And congratulations to them. It was a good win for their program. They played well.”

The Crusaders did not shoot well, particularly from 3-point range, and that ended up costing them.

SB closed out league play 4-2 and are now 13-11 overall, while Ferndale improved to 2-4 and 13-11.

The two teams will meet again at St. Bernard’s on Monday in the opening round of the Niclai tournament.

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