Mack boys overcome adversity to win season opener in overtime

File photo – Jordan Brown

A young McKinleyville boys basketball team has a lot of key players to replace this year, but that didn’t stop the Panthers from getting the new season off to a winning start on Monday night.

The Panthers traveled to Oroville to compete at the three-day Las Plumas tournament and opened with a 60-56 overtime win over the host school.

It wasn’t all pretty, but the Mack players dug deep and pulled out a season-opening victory.

“We definitely had to overcome some adversity at the end with some missed free throws, but we’ve got a good young team that’s coming together well,” new head coach Chris Davis said. 

While Davis and his players will have to find a way to replace four of their leading scorers from last year’s Dick Niclai winning roster, including Humboldt Sports Player of the Year Cody Whitmer, they do have a core group of returning players who appear ready to pick up the slack.

That group includes Jordan Brown, who is one of the best point guards in the area and looks ready to enjoy a very strong senior season.

“Jordan Brown is our obvious leader and is really bringing the guys together well,” Davis said. “It’s nice to see him take that on.”

Brown is also one of the best defensive players in the H-DNL.

Also back and ready to take on bigger roles are junior Cole Armstrong and sophomore Bode Douglass, the latter of whom had a breakout season at the varsity level a year ago.

“He’s definitely been taking on more of a scoring role,” Davis said of Douglass. “He’s still learning but he’s been coming into his own.”

The Panthers will try to keep their winning start going when they play Chico on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

And Davis is expecting a big challenge from a Chico team that has a lot of returning players and features plenty of experience.

The Panthers will close out the three-day round-robin tournament against Lassen on Wednesday.

The Mack boys will then play Shasta in their home opener next Tuesday before hosting their annual tournament from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, a tournament that will include teams from Sacramento, the Bay Area and Oregon, as well as Hoopa and Arcata.

File photo – Flynn Creighton is back with the Panthers this season.

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