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Contributing to a winning team

CR is having a great season with only six

Former Del Norte Warriors Kristyn Rook is playing for a winning squad with the College of the Redwoods women’s basketball team. Despite only six players on the team, the Corsairs are having one of their best seasons in years. Rook is a 2011 graduate of Del Norte High. Photo courtesy of College of the Redwoods
Former Del Norte Warriors Kristyn Rook is playing for a winning squad with the College of the Redwoods women’s basketball team. Despite only six players on the team, the Corsairs are having one of their best seasons in years. Rook is a 2011 graduate of Del Norte High. Photo courtesy of College of the Redwoods
It takes a fair amount of stamina to be a member of a six-person college basketball squad.

Despite being normally outmanned 12 to 6 each time they compete, the College of the Redwoods women’s basketball team is having a season to remember.

What makes this story even more amazing is that this small but gritty group of players are having one of the best campaigns in years at CR.

One of those six players is 2011 Del Norte High graduate Kristyn Rook, who has had a memorable season along with her teammates.

The Eureka school had an exceptional regular season, finishing 8-2 in the Golden Valley Conference and 16-8 overall after winning a single game last year.

“It’s been nice to be on a winning team,” Rook said in a phone interview with the Triplicate before practice on Tuesday afternoon. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to work well together.”

Kristyn Rook goes up for a basket during a game against Feather River earlier this season. Photo courtesy of College of the Redwoods
Kristyn Rook goes up for a basket during a game against Feather River earlier this season. Photo courtesy of College of the Redwoods
The squad started the year with 12 players, but a number of factors, mainly on the injury front, have whittled the team to only six strong.

This means the players are constantly rotating in and out of the lineup. Rook said each players averages around 35 minutes per game and only gets a short breather before they have to go back in.

While it can get tiring, “You kind of get used to it,” Rook said. “You’re normally on the bench for about two minutes or so, so you collect your breath and get a quick drink. It’s pretty intense.”

Making it more special is all six team members are from Humboldt-Del Norte Conference teams.

“They push me to become a better player,” she said.

Last year, the Corsairs won only a single game, so expectations were quite low to say the least, Rook said. And with such a small group of players other programs have not taken them as seriously as perhaps they should. That has changed with the Corsairs piling up wins.

“I think some teams have underestimated us, but we have proven to them that we  can play,” she said. “I think we have good chemistry together, which has helped.”

In the regular season finale for CR on Wednesday night, they lost to Shasta 57-54 at home.

If they had won, they would have earned at least a share of the conference title with the College of the Siskiyous for the first time in 31 years. Siskiyous still has two games left and can win the title outright with a win. Rook had two points in the Shasta game.

CR still has a chance to earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2002 as an at-large team.

To Rook, making it to the playoffs would be special.

“It would be big for us, that’s for sure,” she said on Tuesday.

While Rook does not score a lot of points, she finds other ways to contribute. To her knowledge her season high was 8 points.

Her goal is to do what it takes on the court to help her squad. This may mean grabbing a rebound or causing a key steal or finding an open teammate for an assist.

Her father, Ray Rook, recalled a home game against the College of the Siskiyous,  undefeated in conference play at the time, which was a perfect example of what Kristyn brings to CR. Siskiyou had a post player dominating and getting easy points in the paint. But Kristyn played tough defense that pushed her opponent away from the basket, and she missed the shot. Rook rebounded the ball and passed to a teammate, who went down the floor and scored. Redwood ended up winning the game in an upset.

“She’s provided tough defense and has the ability to rebound and help out where needed,” Ray Rook said.

Rook, the varsity football head coach at Del Norte High, said that as a coach he is impressed with what CR has accomplished this year despite the odds stacked against them.

“Anything can happen if you prepare and play hard,” Rook said. “I’m very proud of all she and her teammates have accomplished.”

Kristyn Rook plan to return next season for her sophomore year. She plans to eventually transfer a four year school. While still unsure if she will compete in basketball, if given the opportunity she would love the chance to continue her playing career, she said.

“It would be cool to keep playing,” Rook said.

So what happens if a player is inured or is fouled or kicked out of a game for CR?

This scenario has happened once this season.

On Dec. 30 at home against Mendocino CR started the game with seven players.

The contest went into overtime. By the end of the contest, the Corsairs were down to three players on the court. Rook was one of those players and made a big difference. Up 91-88 late in the game, Rook was  fouled twice. She made one free throw each time she went up, which helped the CR squad earn the 93-88 win.

Rook said that it’s always great to have her family at the games cheering her on. “It’s nice to have them there to support me,”  she said .

While Ray Rook had been to every  home game this season he was unable to attend Wednesday’s contest. Rook, a fire caption at Pelican Bay State Prison, had a previous commitment at a training conference in Chico.

“I’m really bummed out to miss the game, but if they make it I will be at the playoff game,” he said.

The good news is that his wife Trisha was able to attend the Shasta game. Ray planned to watch the game from his  computer. CR provides a live stream of home games.

Reach Bill Choy at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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