File photo – Branson Gans scored 21 points for Fortuna in an overtime loss to Central Valley on Saturday.

A number of H-DNL teams dropped close games in basketball on Saturday, as they closed out weekend tournaments ahead of next week’s league openers.

The Del Norte and Arcata girls each lost in the final seconds, while the Fortuna boys fell in overtime to Central Valley.

McKinleyville 35, Eastside Prep 55

For the second straight day, one bad quarter proved costly for the McKinleyville girls at the Lady Pirate New Year’s Shootout in Pittsburg.

The Panthers fell 55-35 to Eastside Prep.

Hailee Henry had a big day offensively for the Mack girls, finishing with a team-best 14 points, while freshman Trinity Preston also had a good game with seven points.

The Panthers struggled in the third quarter, however, as Eastside began to pull away and take control of the game.

“That one quarter kind of killed us,” McKinleyville head coach Tony McClure said. “Other than that we played competitive.”

In particular, the Panthers had problems with their transition defense.

It didn’t help having just seven players on hand for the game, including only six varsity players, with sickness and injuries taking their toll on the roster for the three-game weekend road trip.

“It was just hard to sustain our energy for four quarters,” McClure said. “I thought we did a good job.”

The Panthers are hoping to have some of their walking wounded back in time for Tuesday’s Big 5 opener at Fortuna.

The McKinleyville JVs also participated at the weekend tournament, closing out with a three-point win over Acalanes on Saturday.

The Panthers are an impressive 10-4 on the season.

Del Norte 53, Enterprise 55

The Warriors lost on a buzzer beater just seconds after junior guard Jadence Clifton had tied the game on a free throw, to close out the Enterprise tournament on Saturday.

Clifton posted a double-double in the loss, her second in three games at the tournament, finishing with 27 points and 12 rebounds.

For the three games, the Del Norte captain had 91 points and 33 rebounds.

Kirsten Brous also had a big game on Saturday, finishing with 15 points and shooting 4-for-5 from 3-point range.

Ashley Lenover added five points and Selene Ledezma four.

Del Norte (9-5) opens the Big 5 at home to Eureka (12-4) on Tuesday night.

Arcata 51, Half Moon Bay 54

The Tigers closed out the Liberty tournament with an impressive performance on Saturday, barely falling to Half Moon Bay.

The Arcata girls battled back from a double-digit deficit to almost sneak the win.

The Tigers, who open league play at McKinleyville on Thursday, are 7-7.


St. Bernard’s 38, Clear Lake 74

A non-tournament game got away from the Crusaders in the second half, as they fell to the Cardinals in Lakeport.

Lane Thrap led the SB boys offensively with 12 points, while Owen Shanahan and Remy Campbell each finished with nine points.

“Obviously not happy with the outcome, but I was happy with a number of things that we did,” head coach Steve Thrap said. “Just struggled against a very good team that’s ahead of where we are right now. We will be there.”

The Crusaders are now 5-5 and will open league play at home to Hoopa on Friday.

Fortuna 72, Central Valley 76, OT

The Huskies lost a close game at the Corning Shootout for the second straight day on Saturday, falling to Central Valley in overtime.

Branson Gans led the Huskies offensively with 21 points, while Bo Cox continued his impressive season with a double-double, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The Fortuna boys closed out the three-day tournament 1-2 and are now 6-9 on the season.

Their two losses at the tournament were by just seven points combined.

The Huskies open the Big 5 at McKinleyville on Wednesday night.

Fortuna JVs

The Fortuna JVs closed out the Corning tournament with a 64-59 win over Yreka for third place on Saturday.

RJ Rexford and Logan Miranda were each named all-tournament for the Huskies, who are now 9-6.


Ray Hamill writes at, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.