The Redwood School Red girls basketball team kept some of the Crescent City Jaycees Tournament hardware in Del Norte County.
The Raiders made it to the semifinal of the A division bracket on Friday before losing to Weaverville, 32-24, on Saturday morning.
In the third-place game, Redwood overcame adversity against Cuddeback School of Carlotta, trailing by 11 points at halftime before winning, 59-44.
“This is the first time we’ve ever won a trophy,” Raiders coach Cris Rice said. “It feels good. I’ve had a lot of good groups over the years, but this one has improved a lot from the beginning of the season.”
The Jaycees Tournament is rife with pressure — tough opponents, personal expectations and raucous hometown crowds.
Therein lies the challenge for coaches and players — how to play free of conscience, and also play your best.
“It’s a big deal. There’s a lot of hype, so it makes them a little nervous,” Rice said. “(Against Cuddeback) we got over the nerves and took it to them in the second half.”
Crescent Elk A, competing in the AA division, won its seventh-place game against Boulder Creek Middle School of Redding, 29-24, on Saturday. The Cougars lost to Terrace Middle School of Lakeport, 32-25, in an earlier contest.
Crescent Elk B, the lone Del Norte County team in the B division, also went winless in the tournament. The Cougars fell to Stanwood A. Murphy Elementary School of Scotia, 50-19, and Jacoby Creek Charter School of Arcata, 33-17, on Saturday.
Redwood White finished highest among the three local C Division teams, taking sixth place after beating Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods, 27-12, but losing to Blue Lake 18-15 in the consolation final. In the seventh-place game, Uncharted Shores Academy defeated KRECR, 31-19, after its 24-21 loss to Blue Lake earlier in the day.
KRECR fielded a Jaycees Tournament team for the first time in its history. The Eagles were comprised of 13 students from the Klamath and Crescent City campuses of KRECR and four students from Foursquare Christian School.
“I don’t know if any of them have ever played, officially. For most, this is their first year playing,” KRECR coach Jenn Longrie said. “It’s been fun getting to meet all the girls from different schools.”
Toddy Thomas Elementary School of Fortuna (AAA Division), Hydesville (AA Division), Rio Dell (A Division), Hayfork (B Division) and Grenada (C Division) won the championship games of their respective divisions.
Del Norte County placed eight players on all-tournament teams: Abby Lundin, Redwood White; Cambria Taylor, Uncharted Shores Academy; and Felicity Lopez, KRECR (C all-tournament); Alexis Hunter, Crescent Elk B (B all-tournament); Mary Vance, Redwood Red; Maddison Smedley, Redwood Red; and Alejandra Contreras, Smith River (A all-tournament); and Kajai Vang, Crescent Elk A (AA all-tournament).