After a couple of close calls recently, the Fortuna boys responded with a statement 64-39 win over the Tigers on Wednesday night, their first victory at Arcata since 2014.
Playing in front of a packed house, including a large and enthusiastic Fortuna section, the league champion Huskies came out with a determined look about them and quickly put the game away.
The win was the 10th straight for the Huskies, who improve to 7-0 in the Big 5, having already clinched the league title.
Fortuna is now 23-1 overall.
Drew Gillette scored a game-high 21 points in the win, while Donald Willis finished with 15 points and Bradley Willis 12.
Much to the delight of the traveling fans, the Huskies led 19-7 after the opening quarter and had stretched the advantage to 19 by halftime.
In the third quarter they continued to pull away, outscoring the home team 22-4 for the period to lead by an impressive 37 points heading into the fourth quarter.
Jack Taylor led the Tigers with nine points, while Jaden Gorge finished with seven, and Hunter Santsche and Mason Railsback six apiece,
With the loss, the Tigers (9-14 overall) close out league play at 3-5, but remain in the thick of a four-way battle for second and third place and a spot in next week’s Dick Niclai Memorial Tournament.
The Huskies will be the No. 1 seed for the Big 5 in next week’s tournament.
Ferndale 54, Eureka 78
The Loggers honored their senior class before Wednesday night’s game, and the four seniors stepped up with a strong performance in a comfortable win over the Wildcats.
Zach Reed, Braden Glavich, Austin Maples and Cruz Montana each had an impact, as the resurgent Loggers won their second straight.
It was also a third win in four games for Eureka, which is 5-4 going back to early January.
Reed finished with a team-high 17 points, while Glavich added 15 points, Maples nine and Montana five.
Montana also had a big impact on the defensive side of things.
“He had a great defensive game,” Eureka head coach Robbie Thompson said of Montana. “He always brings energy and leadership.”
Thompson paid tribute to his entire senior class.
“They all brought a lot of leadership,” he said. “They talked about defining the culture at Eureka High, and I think when they come back in a few years they’ll see they were right there at the forefront of that.”
Junior Jayden Thayer added 11 points in the win, as the Loggers improve to 7-14.
Kyler Becksted continued his impressive season for the Wildcats with a game-high 21 points, while Gio Magdaleno finished with 10.
On Friday, the Wildcats (8-13 overall) close out the Little 4 at home to South Fork, while Eureka hosts Del Norte in the Big 5.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.