The Del Norte boys basketball team’s run through the Dick Nicial Tournament came to an end on Thursday in Hoopa.
The Warriors traveled south take on the Humboldt-Del Norte Little 5 regular season champs and fell 66-52 in what Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez felt was the team’s worst game of the season.
“It is a bummer, not just because we lost the game, but because we played so poorly,” Lopez said. “The kids have worked their butts off this year. I thought we came out pretty much every night and played as hard as we could, so I am really proud of them for that. That is why the game was so disappointing. It just wasn’t who we are.”
The Warriors were able to keep pace early in the game, training just 14-12 at the end of the first quarter. Hoopa exploded for 42 points in the second and third quarters combined, however, to open up a commanding 18-point lead.
With the reserves in the game, the Warriors were able to close the Hoopa lead a little bit in the fourth quarter.
“The second group of the bench came in and played really well,” Lopez said. “They came in and played their hearts out. I want to give them a lot of credit.”
The loss drops the Warriors to 10-9 overall this season. It is the teams first .500 record since the 2009-10 season. Although the energy was lacking on Thursday against Hoopa, it is that energy that Lopez will remember this team by.
“I think their heart and competitiveness this year stands out,” Lopez said. “Every single night we were outsized and outweighed. I just loved the way that they competed. I thought that they maybe over-achieved this year. I don’t think anybody, including us, really knew what to expect this year.”
The Warriors await word from the North Coast Section to see if they have qualified for the NCS tournament this year. Lopez said the team should know by Sunday.