Garrett Hall scored 21 points and the Arcata High boys basketball team secured a berth in the championship-round of the Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament, beating last year’s champion Fortuna High 56-45 Friday night inside the Tiger Den.
Hall scored 12 of his 21 points in the first-half. The senior ignited the Tigers’ offense with back-to-back layups midway through the first quarter, sparking an 11-3 run as Arcata (5-1) took a 15-10 lead into the second-quarter.
“(Hall) is a four-year varsity player,” Arcata head coach Dusty Scofield said. “Being a senior we expect that kind of leadership from him and he certainly gave us important minutes when we needed them tonight.”
Hall poured in eight points in the second frame to keep the Tigers out in front of a feisty Huskies team. With under 90 seconds to play in the first-half Hall hit a layup, got a steal on the ensuing Huskies possession and scored again to help send Arcata into the break ahead 29-20.
Fortuna (3-2) saw a very balanced night scoring wise, especially in the first-half. No Huskies player went into the break with more than four points.
The Huskies played their finest eight minutes of defense in the third-quarter. Fortuna outscored Arcata 13-9 in the frame behind four points from Jaden Kelley and a 3-pointer from Bo Cox.
Arcata righted itself in the final frame as Hall scored seven points and Marcus Bensen, six off the bench to lead Arcata into the AIBT finals.
Bensen finished with eight points, as did Mason Railsback in the win. Niko Zambas poured in seven and Jacob Stoker, six.
“I think one of our strengths is our depth,” Scofield said.
Cox led Fortuna in scoring with 11 points including three 3-pointers. Branson Gans chipped in eight in the loss while both Kelley and Fernando Atilano finished with six points.
Arcata will take on Piner in the AIBT championship at 6 p.m. tonight. Piner beat McKinleyville in the first-round and downed Montgomery in the semifinals to make its way into the championship round.
Arcata last won the AIBT in 2015.
“Piner is a very good team, but I like where we are at right now,” Scofield said.
Fortuna will face Montgomery in the tournament’s third-place game at 4:30 p.m.