South Fork’s JV girls lost a heartbreaker to Hoopa Valley 36-30 Friday night in Miranda. The team was down a player and had run small practices all week due to illness.
"They played with great tenacity and every one of them really wanted to win this game," said head coach Taylor Morrow. Morrow had to sit out his center, sophomore McKenzie Crenshaw, when she got into early foul trouble and her aggressive presence under the hoop was missed.
Freshman Sydney Stephens filled the role usually played by the missing Melissa Pemberton. She and junior Dakotah Stafslien both stepped up to have solid performances in their teammates’ places, Stephens playing good defense and Stafslien pulling down rebounds and creating shooting space for herself.
DJ Sterling gave a glimpse of what promises to be an exciting varsity career as she led the team in scoring with 20 points while also pulling down rebounds at both ends of the court, running the floor with terrific speed on the dribble and finding calm at the eye of a storm of intensity to lead her team to a chance to win down the stretch of the game.
"This was DJ’s best game of the season," said Morrow of his quick and athletic sophomore. The Hoopa coach repeatedly warned his team to keep the ball out of her hands. "She really took control of the game," said Morrow, "her leadership kept the game from getting away from us."
Also scoring for the Cubs were sophomore Kylee Teasley who came alive with all 4 of her points in the fourth quarter; Crenshaw with 4 points, and Stafslien with a bucket.
Hoopa -10 -6 -4 -16 --36
South Fork -7 -7 -4 -12 --30
Earlier in the week the Lady Cubs lost to Fortuna 56-13. They struggled to keep pace with the big school’s well polished JVs. Sterling had 7 points, sophomore Lily Farrell had 4 and Crenshaw had a bucket.
Fortuna -18 -15 -15 -8 --56
South Fork -4 -6 -3 -0 --13
The Cubs are eager for their Humboldt del Norte Little Four Conference rematch against St. Bernard’s this Friday in Eureka, looking for a repeat of their earlier home win over the Crusaders.
"Our goal is second place in league," said Morrow. We have the confidence and the skills to achieve that." The team is expected to be back at full strength for the important contest.