Zach Reed scored 10 points in the final three minutes and for the second consecutive time in league play the Eureka Loggers beat the McKinleyville Panthers, this time by a 60-58 margin Tuesday night at Jay Willard Gymnasium.
The Loggers took a 27-20 lead into halftime of Tuesday’s win but a turnover-riddled third quarter allowed the Panthers to surge back. The visitors outscored the Loggers 16-7 in the third quarter to take a 36-34 lead into the final frame.
Then the Glavich boys, Bryson and Braeden, combined for seven points as the Loggers began the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run to take a 44-36 lead, a lead which they would not yield for the remainder of the game despite some remarkable shooting down the stretch from the Panthers.
McKinleyville’s Freddie Sundberg hit a trio of 3-pointers in the final 80 seconds of Tuesday’s game to keep the pressure on the Loggers, who turned to their senior leader to close out the game.
Reed, who finished his night with a game-high 19 points, went a perfect 8-8 at the free-throw line in the closing minutes of Tuesday’s win to stave off a Panthers’ comeback which, if Reed had not been flawless from the line, may have seen the home team fall.
“It’s so exciting to see these guy’s energy,” Eureka head coach Robbie Thompson said. “We went through some tough stretches, but nights like this, when we push through and come out on top, make it all worth it.”
As crucial as Reed’s free throw shooting was in the win, the play of Eureka’s big men was equally as needed on Tuesday night.
Miles Meynell was tasked with guarding McKinleyville’s 6-foot-6 center AJ Stubbs, and held the senior in check for the most part, limiting Stubbs to 16 points on the night. Meynell himself finished with 12 points. Gary Jiminez, who came off the bench to deliver quality minutes in relief of Meynell, provided a section defensive option for Thompson.
“I said before the game we needed a mystery man to step up and give us big minutes tonight, and Gary was that man,” Thompson said.
Braeden Glavich had one of his best nights of the season, scoring 10 points in the win.
For the Panthers, Sundberg finished with 12 points, all from 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Issac Puzz also hit double figures with 15 points.
The Loggers (1-2, 4-10) move into the middle of the pack in the Big 5 Conference with Tuesday’s win while the Panthers (0-2, 7-8) now find themselves far from where they were in the league standings this time a year ago.
Eureka will take a week off before welcoming Del Norte to town on Jan. 15 while the Panthers will have a day to prepare for a road game at Del Norte on Thursday.
Andrew Butler can be reached at 707-441-0526.