Fortuna’s Donald Willis lays one up during an 83-51 win over the visiting Arcata Tigers, Thursday night at Fortuna High. (Andrew Butler — Times-Standard)
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Zac Claus put the Huskies faithful on their feet with a 3-pointer not 15 seconds into Thursday’s game and two minutes later they were still standing after Claus hit another 3-ball to open up an 11-0 lead. The Fortuna boy’s basketball team would go on to put on another show as it asserted itself as the top team in the Big 5 Conference with an 83-51 win over the visiting Arcata Tigers, Thursday night at Fortuna High.

Thursday’s win puts the Huskies (3-0, 18-1) atop the Big 5 as they now stand as the only undefeated team in league play.

After jumping out to a 2-0 mark in league play the Tigers, with Thursday’s loss, fall to 2-2 in the Big 5 and back into third place behind Fortuna and Del Norte (2-1, 11-4).

Claus would go on to score 13 points in the first half and finish the game with 16, but it was Bradley Willis who had the game of the night in the Friendly City.

The senior led all scorers with 29 points and secured a double-double with 13 rebounds to boot. Willis also accounted for five steals and five assists in the win. Willis hit two 3-pointers on the night, the first coming in the latter stages of the first quarter to push Fortuna’s lead to 18-4.

Fortuna’s Bradley Willis gets loose before taking on Arcata. (Andrew Butler — Times-Standard)

Arcata made one real run in the game, and it came in the final two minutes of the first quarter as Niko Zambas hit a 3-pointer to cut Fortuna’s lead down to a 20-12 advantage.

And then Joeseph “Jojo” McGinnis came off the bench for the Huskies and nailed his first of five 3-pointers on the night. Donald Willis, who finished with 14 points, followed McGinnis up with another 3-ball and the Huskies ended the first quarter ahead 26-12.

Arcata would not come within 10 points of the Huskies again as the home team took a 45-25 lead into the break behind a gaudy 14-point second quarter from Bradley Willis.

“The energy tonight, from the student section, our fans and our bench, was just so special,” Fortuna head coach Tony Miles said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime team.”

Only one Tiger, Hunter Santsche, finished the game in double figures in terms of scoring as the senior had 10 points in the loss.

The Huskies will enjoy a week-long respite before returning to action on Jan. 17 with an away game against the Loggers at Eureka High while the Tigers will look to get back into the win column on the 17th with a home game against their beloved rival McKinleyville.

Andrew Butler can be reached at 707-441-0526.

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