Two of the best teams on the North Coast this season faced off at the Lady Panther Classic on Friday and they didn’t disappoint.
In an intense matchup, there was nothing to separate Eureka and St. Bernard’s through the opening four quarters, as both teams seemed desperate not to lose a second straight game at this week’s tournament.
But it was the Loggers who closed out the stronger of the two, outscoring the Crusaders 10-2 in overtime to pull out a 56-48 win.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Eureka head coach Michael Harvey said. “I have a lot of respect for (SB head coach Mark Gardner and assistant coach Cliff Hart), they have their girls playing really well.
“I thought we played hard too. But our shots weren’t falling until the last quarter.”
The Eureka girls, who were riding a two-game losing streak, trailed for much of the game, and found themselves 11 points adrift on a couple of occasions late in the third quarter.
With Sophia Chalmers rediscovering her touch, however, and Kellina Pratton doing an excellent job directing traffic, the Loggers picked up their game just when they needed it, tying the score midway through the final period of regulation.
The final few minutes were back and forth, with St. Bernard’s freshman Saulele Tanuvasa dangerous every time she touched the ball, and a couple of big late baskets from teammates Marayah Tomlinson and Emma Wilson.
The Loggers, however, pulled away in overtime, as they began to take control at both ends of the court.
Chalmers finished with a game-high 21 points, while Carly Boynton had a big impact as well with nine points.
For St. Bernard’s, Tanuvasa finished with 16 points, while Josie Peterson added eight points, Shelby Jordan seven and Mackenzie Finck six.
All in all, it was another impressive performance for St. Bernard’s against the far larger Division-III program
“I thought the girls played really well tonight,” Gardner said. “It might have been our best game of the season.”
The Crusaders are now 8-3 on the season.
Pratton was instrumental again, as was teammate McKenna Beach, who has been consistently impressive for the 9-3 Loggers.
“Kellina had a good game handling the ball, especially in the last quarter,” Harvey said. “I’m really pleased with her leadership.
“And McKenna has been rock solid for us all year.”
Pratton had five points and Bella Vigil added six points.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.