The Big 5 is looking more and more likely to come down to the final game of the season next week, with both Eureka and Del Norte each winning on Tuesday night to remain the frontrunners in girls basketball.
Del Norte started slow but took control in the second half on the way to a comfortable 53-25 win at home to Fortuna.
With the win, the Warriors remain perfect in the Big 5 at 5-0.
The Loggers, meanwhile, improved to 5-1 with a 59-37 win at home to Arcata.
Eureka hosts Del Norte in the Big 5 finale on Thursday of next week.
In non-conference games on Tuesday night, the McKinleyville girls defeated visiting South Fork 68-17, while the McKinleyville boys comfortably took care of business at Ferndale by a score of 64-30.
Eureka 59, Arcata 37
Makaila Napoleon scored a game-high 19 points as the Loggers kept pace with the Big 5 leaders, with a second win over the Tigers in league play.
Napoleon scored 15 in a dominating first-half performance, as the Eureka girls took control of the game early.
Sophia Chalmers added nine points in the win and Kellina Pratton eight.
Most impressive, however, was the team’s defense, which held the Tigers to just 13 first-half points, as the Loggers opened up a 25-point lead by halftime.
Eureka head coach Michael Harvey went deep to his bench in the second half with 10 different Eureka players scoring.
Raja Cohen scored a team-high 13 points for Arcata, which dropped to 0-6 in the Big 5 and 8-13 overall, while teammate Sophia Belton added eight points.
The Loggers host McKinleyville on Thursday, while Arcata hosts Del Norte.
Del Norte 53, Fortuna 25
The Warriors continued to dominate the rest of the Big 5 with another big win on Tuesday, moving them one step closer to what would be a first-ever league title in girls basketball.
With the win, Del Norte is now 6-0 in league play with three games remaining and 16-2 overall.
The Warriors play at Arcata on Thursday, before hosting a tricky McKinleyville team next Tuesday in their home finale, and then traveling to close out at Eureka.
And Del Norte head coach Justin Clifton is warning his players not to be complacent despite their recent dominating performances.
“I told the girls (Arcata) is no gimme,” he said. “We have three more league games and we have to win them all. Everybody’s out to beat us.”
Kaleya Sanchez scored 18 points to lead the Warriors, who started slow against the Huskies after a six-day layoff.
Defensively, however, the home team held the Huskies to single digits in scoring in each of the four quarters, as they stretched a 10-point halftime lead to 21 by the end of the third quarter.
Bella Stone finished with nine points for Del Norte.
South Fork 17, McKinleyville 68
The Panthers dominated at both ends of the court on the way to a lopsided win over visiting South Fork on Tuesday night.
A pair of sophomores led the way for Mack, with Victoria Claros and Cameron Heenan each scoring nine points.
With the win, the Panthers improved to 12-10, while the Cubs dropped to 8-10.
Rayn Tripp added eight points for the Panthers, who held the visitors to just six points in the opening half, while Mikayla Minton finished with seven points, and Theresia Dickey, Kylee Townsend and Kailey Armstrong six points apiece.
All 12 McKinleyville players scored.
Next up on Thursday, McKinleyville plays at Eureka in a key Big 5 showdown, while South Fork plays at St. Bernard’s.
McKinleyville 64, Ferndale 30
The Panthers got a balanced performance with 10 different players scoring on the way to a comfortable non-conference road win over the Wildcats on Tuesday.
AJ Stubbs scored a game-high 12 points, as the McKinleyville boys won their second straight, improving to 9-10 on the season.
Isaac Puzz added 10 points in the win, while Freddie Sundberg and Sage Watrous de Salinas each finished with eight points.
Jake White and Kameron Conlin each added seven points and Craig Peterson six for the Panthers, who will play at South Fork on Wednesday.
One night after playing the high-flying Huskies close, the Cats were never in this one, scoring just two points in the opening quarter and just 10 in the opening half.
The Cats dropped to 8-11 on the season.
Gio Magdaleno scored a team-high seven points in the loss while Kyler Becksted added five points.
Ferndale will try to rebound at Hoopa Valley on Friday.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.