A pair of local league champions closed out a perfect campaign on Friday night, with Hoopa Valley and Fortuna each winning in boys basketball.
The Hoopa boys defeated St. Bernard’s 78-45 in just their third home game of the year, finishing up the Little 4 with a record of 6-0, having now won 10 of their past 11 games.
Fortuna, meanwhile, took care of McKinleyville in a high-scoring affair by a score of 98-85, the most points the Huskies have scored or allowed all year.
The win lifts the Huskies to 8-0 in the Big 5 and 24-1 overall.
Also in action on Friday night, Del Norte ended a three-game losing skid and secured second place in the Big 5 with a 61-44 win at home to Eureka, while South Fork closed out the Little 4 with a 71-61 win at Ferndale, also ending a three-game losing skid.
And all of that cleared up the playoff picture — somewhat.
Niclai playoff picture
Hoopa has the No. 1 seed in the Little 4 for next week’s Dick Niclai Memorial Tournament, while South Fork will host St. Bernard’s in a first round game on Tuesday.
Both South Fork and St. Bernard’s finished with identical 3-3 records in league play, but South Fork will host courtesy of a coin flip tiebreaker.
In the Big 5, Fortuna secured the top seed a week ago, with the remaining four teams battling for the final two Niclai spots going into the final night of action.
When the dust had settled, Del Norte had secured the No. 2 seed, leaving Arcata and McKinleyville tied for third place with identical 3-5 records.
The two schools will meet at McKinleyville on Monday night, courtesy of another coin flip, to see who gets the No. 3 seed and advances to play at Del Norte on Tuesday, while Eureka closes out at 2-6.
Fortuna and Hoopa will each host semifinal matchups on Thursday, with the championship game for both the girls and boys tournaments at Humboldt State on Friday night.
McKinleyville 85, Fortuna 98
Drew Gillette scored a team-high 31 points to lead the Huskies to a win on senior night, while Donald Willis finished with 20 points, Zac Claus 17 and Bradley Willis 16.
The win was the 11th straight for the Huskies.
St. Bernard’s 45, Hoopa Valley 78
George Navarro scored 37 points for the Warriors, who improved to 20-6 on the season.
Navarro added seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists.
“The boys came out and played very hard,” Hoopa head coach Tyler Mitchell said. “They earned every bit of their undefeated league.”
Hoopa’s Dennis Young finished with 14 points and six boards, while Sonny Jarnaghan and Wade Nixon each had eight points.
“Defensively we played really well in the first half,” said Mitchell, whose team outscored the visitors 26-9 in the second quarter to lead by 28 at halftime.
Lane Thrap led the Crusaders with 21 points, while Justin Hagler finished with 11 points.
The Crusaders are 11-11 overall.
South Fork 71, Ferndale 61
The Cubs secured a share of second place in the Little 4 with a 10-point win over the Cats in a hard-fought and competitive clash.
Alex Harding led a balanced offensive performance for the Cubs (11-11 overall) with 15 points, one of five players to finish in double digits in scoring.
Cody Wyatt and CJ Van Meter each scored 14, while Graham McConnell and Riley Gallagher each scored 10.
In head coach Taylor Morrow’s words, “it took our whole team.”
Ferndale closed out league play at 0-6 and is 8-14 overall.
The Cats play at Calistoga on Saturday, while South Fork plays at Point Arena.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.