Warriors on top

The Times-Standard

To the victors go the spoils.

Hoopa High and Del Norte High had the most dominating boys'
basketball teams in the Humboldt-Del Norte League in 1998-99, so it's
no surprise those teams placed two players each on the six-player
Times-Standard Basketball All-Stars squad.

Hoopa roared to the Little Six Conference and North Coast Section
Division V title before reaching the Northern California Division V
championship game. For that effort, sensational sophomore guard Joe
and junior forward Adam Ponikvar were voted to the team
chosen by the Times-Standard sports staff.

Junior guard Buck Pierce joined junior center Charles Webster in
leading Del Norte to the Big Five Conference crown and a victory in
the first round of the North Coast Section Division III playoffs. Those
Warriors, too, are on the all-star club.

St. Bernard landed senior forward Cory Pinochi on the team. He is
joined by McKinleyville senior guard Jamie Ham to round out the

The Times-Standard boys' Coach of the Year honor goes to Hoopa's
mentor Inker McCovey for leading his team to the No. 4 ranking in the
final Cal-Hi Sports Division V poll.

Here's a closer look at the sensational six.

Joe Smith, Hoopa: The 5-foot-10 sophomore guard was the H-DNL's
leading scorer with 18.9 points per game in Times-Standard statistics.
His long-range shooting and high-pressure defensive skills epitomized
all the things that led a magnificent Hoopa team to a glorious season.

Buck Pierce, Del Norte: Pierce repeats as a Times-Standard star after
earning a spot on the newspaper's football team last fall as a
quarterback. The versatile 6-foot guard was the floor leader for the Big
Five champions, averaging 13.8 ppg.

Jamie Ham, McKinleyville: Ham finished one of the finest four-year
varsity careers in H-DNL history averaging 14.7 ppg for the Panthers.
While the team struggled, Ham often played his best when most
needed. The 5-10 sharp-shooter led the last-place Panthers to an upset
of Del Norte in Crescent City — Del Norte's only conference loss.

Cory Pinochi, St. Bernard: While St. Bernard couldn't get past Hoopa,
Pinochi literally carried the Crusaders down the stretch and into the
playoffs. He was, arguably, the most consistent rebounder in the league
— playing on a team the desperately needed the 6-2 senior's board
work. He averaged 14.3 ppg, too, as St. Bernard finished second in
the conference (behind Hoopa) and second in the North Coast Section
after falling to Hoopa in the title tilt. Pinochi, too, was on the
newspaper's football team in the past season.

Charles Webster, Del Norte: Webster is the premier big man in the
H-DNL. He was Del Norte's leading rebounder in what was
sometimes called, "The Buck n' Chuck Show." He averaged 13.7
points per game, but had big games late in the season as the Warriors
won another Big Five title. Like Pierce, he is only a junior.

Adam Ponikvar, Hoopa: Ponikvar is a 6-2 bullish rebounder whose
consistent play throughout the season was a staple for the Warriors.
Ponikvar diive numbers, but he had a knack for getting the big rebound,
playing tough defense and scoring from the perimeter when needed. He
played his best in Hoopa's post-season run.

Inker McCovey, Hoopa, Coach of the Year: No team better reflected
the will of its coach than Hoopa reflected McCovey. He often talked
about how much players enjoyed playing his pressure defense,
3-point-shooting style of basketball. The enjoyment paid in wins at an
amazing pace.

1999 Times-Standard