One of the great things about being the Warrior athletic director was being able to go to all of the Del Norte basketball games.
It is a good thing I have a strong heart, as the 1982 Warrior hoopsters really provided fans some extra-special excitement.
The Warriors were coached by Hall of Fame coach Dale Thomas, and this season had to turn Dale’s hair gray.
His team put together a 15-game winning streak, nine of which were in league play. It was not easy as the Ferndale Wildcats took the Warriors right to the wire before losing 64-63.
This was just the start of the heart-stoppers, as the Arcata Tigers were also defeated by a single point, 58-57.
The Eureka Loggers, who were always tough, were defeated 79-69. This was the first Warrior victory at Eureka since 1965. The Loggers then came to Del Norte and beat the Warriors 77-59.
This loss by the Warriors put them in a tie with Eureka for first place in the Big 5, making a one-game playoff necessary. This was another nail-biter as Del Norte held on and defeated Eureka 64-60 in double-overtime to claim the Humboldt-Del Norte League title and advance to the NCS playoffs in Santa Rosa.
The team was led by White Star winners Dean Jones and Brad Bieber, but also featured other names Del Norte fans will always remember: Jay Sarina, Steve Romero, Jeff Slayton, Bruce Stotler, Mike Amos, Mark Yamor, Ken Rankin, Tom King, Richard Kuhns and Gordon Raleigh.
This was a group that provided me with one of my favorite basketball seasons while I was athletic director. It never got boring, they were really fun and exciting to cheer for.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High sports. He played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, later serving as the school’s football coach for a number of years.