With their Big 5 opener in boys basketball less than a week away, the Eureka Loggers have put themselves in position to challenge for a league title after eliminating some early-season mistakes.
The Loggers have one more game before tipping off conference next Wednesday, and will host Enterprise in a final tune-up on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
But regardless of what happens in that game, they will go into their league opener with plenty of confidence and momentum, and with a record of 9-4 right now they’ll go in as one of the teams to beat.
Head coach Robbie Thompson, however, is expecting a battle.
“It’s always competitive,” the third-year Eureka head coach said of the Big 5. “You let your guard down and anybody can beat you on any night.”
The Loggers have won five of their past six games after cleaning up some early-season mistakes, most notably turnovers, missed free throws and missed easy shots.
“I just think we’re coming together with each game,” Thompson said. “I think we’ve gotten a lot better at the things that were driving us crazy and killing us early in the year.
“I just like where we’re at as far as a unit.”
The Loggers feature a deep lineup with plenty of versatility, led by point guard Trevor Bell, a consistent and reliable senior ball handler who was named MVP at last month’s Logger Classic.
Sophomore Jackson Giacone starts at the two guard, with the ever-dangerous trio of Cahliel Garner, CJ Chaidez and Jaeden Thayer rounding out the starting lineup.
Senior Miles Meynell, an all-league selection last winter, gives the Loggers a serious presence off the bench, while junior Keenan Morris continues to look comfortable as he adapts to the varsity level.
“I think we’re playing good ball right now,” Thompson said. “In the time I’ve been with Eureka, we’re definitely the most confident we’ve been.”
Junior Ian Bennett, a cross country standout, has also been impressing through the early going, giving Thompson some valuable minutes off the bench, as has Grant Barrera, Josiah Graham and Gary Jimenez.
The Eureka boys tip off their league challenge with a tough matchup, hosting a Del Norte team that is 11-1 next Wednesday.
“We just have to play our brand of basketball,” the head coach said. “Defend, and rebound, and get out and run, and if we do those things, we’ll be okay.”
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.