By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Thunen Gym will be rocking tonight in Big 5 Conference basketball action.
It may be early in the Big 5 season but tonight's Del Norte versus Arcata boys basketball game will play a key factor in who has conference supremacy.
Del Norte, 11-2 overall, won its first conference game on Friday against Fortuna 45-32.
But Arcata, 12-6 overall, 2-0 in the Big 5, currently sits on top of the conference standings and are coming off a 58-56 overtime win on Friday against Eureka at home.
Warrior head coach Blaine Lopez said his squad understands the importance of tonight's contest.
"They're in first place right now and defeated Eureka so they're the team to beat right now," he said. "It will be a big test for us. Hopefully we come out and play well."
While not the tallest team, the Tigers are very fundamentally sound and aggressive, Lopez said.
To win, the Warriors need to continue to play tough and tenacious defense and grab rebounds on both ends of the floor, which Arcata does quite well, Lopez said.
"We can't get beat on the boards," he said. "We have to get loose balls."
On offense, Lopez said the team needs to runs its offensive sets well, find the open man and make its shots.
It has been a while since the Warriors have played at home. That occurred on Dec. 13 when they downed St. Bernard's.
Del Norte was supposed to play at home on Jan. 4 against Ferndale, but the game was cancelled due to the weather and has not been rescheduled at this time.
Lopez said his players always look forward to playing in front of the typically large and enthusiastic Crescent City crowd.
"It will be nice to be home," Lopez said. "The players love to play in front of the home fans."
On Friday, starting Del Norte post player Saxon Schultz and backup Andrew Fallman returned from injuries.
Lopez said Schultz is about "85 percent healthy" and will play, while Fallman is still "day to day" and questionable for tonight's contest.
The varsity game begins at 7:30 p.m. while the junior varsity game is at 6 p.m. and the freshman game at 4:30 p.m.
This Friday, the Warriors go on the road to take on McKinleyville, which is currently 1-1 in the Big 5 and 9-8 overall.
Eureka is 1-1 in the conference and 12-6 overall, while Fortuna is 7-10 overall and 0-2 in the Big 5.