The Del Norte High boys basketball team lacked the usual hustle that has become this team’s trademark on Tuesday in McKinleyville and it was costly in a 42-32 loss.
“We played as badly as we have played in two months,” said Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez. “We couldn’t hit a shot and we let that affect us in other areas.”
The Warriors couldn’t get on track offensively. Del Norte’s leading scorers, Steven Maready, Josh Gruden and Dylan Pease, had been averaging 60 percent of the team’s points at 29.4 points per game, with each of them averaging about 10 points. Against McKinleyville, the Warriors top three scorers combined for 10 points.
“When all three of them shoot the ball poorly on the same night, we are going to have a hard time winning,” Lopez said.
Del Norte compounded its shooting troubles on the offensive end with mental mistakes that Lopez hasn’t seen from his players in a few weeks.
“Give them credit, McKinleyville got after it and played hard,” Lopez said. “I thought they outworked us, especially in the first half. We played better in the second half, but we had already dug ourselves a hole.
“This is the first time we have done that in awhile. It was just one of those nights.”
The loss drops the Warriors to 7-6 overall and 1-1 in Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 league play.
The Warriors will try to get back on track against a tough Eureka team that opened league play with a 75-58 victory on the road at McKinleyville.
“Eureka is huge,” Lopez said. “They are going to be a head taller than us at every spot. If we don’t play absolutely as well as we can, we won’t have a chance. Even if we do play as well as we can, there are no guarantees, they are pretty good.”
Del Norte hosts Eureka tonight in Thunen Gymnasium. It will be the Warriors’ first game at home this season.
“I am glad for the kids, because we haven’t been home yet,” Lopez said. “Hopefully we will come out and play well.”