By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Unable to successfully contend with the pressing, fast break style of their opponent, the Del Norte High girls varsity basketball team fell to Fortuna 56-35 at home Thursday evening.
This was the first of only four home games for the Warriors and their first game of the Big 5 Conference season. The loss drops the team to 8-10 for the year.
The Huskies, considered one of the top teams in the Big 5, improved to 13-2.
At the start of the game, the Huskies came out pressing the Warriors on defense and not giving them much room to move down the court or pass the ball.
The press certainly worked on the Warriors, who committed several turnovers in the first period and could not get into a rhythm, as the Huskies jumped out to 13-5 first quarter lead.
Del Norte head coach Buzz McCulloch said his team did not have much of an answer for the pressing defense of Fortuna.
"They have to come to the ball and help out," McCulloch said.
In the second period Del Norte got as close as 25-14 when junior post player Michelle Stacey put in a missed shot for the basket. By the end of the half, the Warriors were down 29-16.
In the third and fourth periods, while Del Norte came out and played hard on both ends of the court, Fortuna had an answer for them every step of the way.
If the Warriors scored a basket, several times the Huskies would score on the next possession and never gave Del Norte a chance to mount a comeback.
"We didn't give up," McCulloch said. "Fortuna is a good, aggressive team."
Stacey had a good game for Del Norte, scoring 16 points and grabbing six rebounds. With a little under two minutes left in the third quarter, she accounted for 14 of the 24 points the Warriors scored.
McCulloch said it was the best game Stacey has had this season.
Robyn Suzuki had seven points and Lauryn Lesina had five points for Del Norte.
Mallorie Franco led Fortuna scorers with 16 while Jain Tuey had 11 points.
Del Norte next plays on Tuesday on the road against Arcata at 7:30 p.m.
In the freshman game Thursday night, Del Norte lost to Fortuna while in the junior varsity game, Del Norte lost to the Huskies 63-40.