The Fortuna Huskies stormed out to a 38-point first quarter and never looked back, cruising to a 94-47 win over visiting South Fork in the Dick Niclai Memorial Tournament semifinal on Thursday night.
In an extremely fast game, played in about an hour, the Huskies sent out a statement of intent with one of their best performances in a what has been a very impressive season.
The Fortuna players accounted for 16 3-pointers, 10 of them in the opening 10 minutes.
The Willis twins led a dynamic offense with 50 points between them,
“We definitely came out on fire,” Fortuna head coach Tony Miles said.
Donald Willis scored a game-high 26 points, including 22 in the first half, while finishing with three 3-pointers.
Bradley Willis added 24 points, including four 3s.
“Our energy was really good,” Miles said. “We just tried to push the ball and get it to the open person.”
The win was the 12th straight for the Huskies, who are the No. 2 ranked Division-IV team in the state and are now 25-1 on the season.
Zac Claus added 22 points in the win, including six 3s, while Drew Gillette finished with 12 points.
The Huskies led by 26 points after the first quarter and had stretched the advantage to 62-26 at halftime.
The win sets up a third meeting this season with Big 5 rivals Del Norte in Friday night’s Niclai championship game at Lumberjack Arena.
“We’re expecting a tough defensive game,” Miles said. “Hopefully we’ll come out as good as we did tonight, and try to get off to a good fast-paced start.”
The Huskies defeated the Warriors on both prior occasions, although the Del Norte boys caused them plenty of concerns in the most recent game two weeks ago, before Fortuna rallied late to pull out an overtime win.
Del Norte defeated Hoopa Valley 62-51 in the other semifinal on Thursday night.
Against Fortuna, Riley Gallager paced an outmatched South Fork team offensively with 13 points, including three 3s, while teammate Cody Wyatt finished with 11 points, also draining three 3s.
CJ Van Meter finished with seven points, as South Fork dropped to 12-13.
The Cubs will look to bounce back next week in the Division-VI NCS bracket, where they should get a top-seven seed and a possible home game.
Friday’s Niclai championship game will be played as part of a doubleheader along with the girls championship.
And like many people, Miles is expecting a big crowd.
“Our crowd has been good all year,” he said. “I think the atmosphere will be good tomorrow. Not just Fortuna, but a lot of people will want to see this game after the last one.”
The girls championship game between Eureka and Del Norte tips off at 6 pm., followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.
Both games will be broadcast live on 95.1 and 106.7 FM.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.