By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
It was a mixed bag in tournament play for the Del Norte High boys and girls basketball teams this past weekend.
After starting the year 8-0, the Warrior boys lost its first two games at the Jamie Angley Hornet Classic in Redding.
On Saturday, Del Norte came back from an eight-point deficit at the end of the first half to defeat Kennedy High of Fremont 74-72 to improve to 9-2 for the year.
At a tournament in Hidden Valley, Ore., the girls squad downed South Eugene, Ore., 41-38 on Friday.
On Saturday, Del Norte was soundly defeated by host Hidden Valley 46-16 to drop to 6-7 for the year.
The Del Norte boys basketball team began play in Redding on Thursday having just returned from playing all the way in Florida at the KSA Pre-Holiday Basketball tournament in the Orlando, Fla. area.
After winning the tournament in three games, the squad left Florida on Sunday and had very little time to prepare to face Foothill High of Palo Cedro on Thursday. Del Norte lost the game 49-31. On Friday, the Warriors lost its second straight game 43-41 to Yuba City.
Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez said his team did not play consistently and were unable to shoot or rebound well, especially during the first half of play in the losses.
While they were tired from the trip to Florida, his team "can't have any excuses," for lackluster play, Lopez said. "We've got to be mentally tougher."
On Saturday, in the seventh place game against Kennedy, the Warriors continued its lackluster play in the first half, finding itself down by eight.
The Warriors were down by 11 before a three-pointer cut the lead down at the buzzer.
In the second half, Lopez said his team shot better from the floor and were improved on defense to get them back in the game and obtain the win.
But, he said, the team shot poorly from the free throw line and the margin of victory should had been higher.
Junior forward Cody Hoffman had a good game for the Warriors with 21 points, including making a pair of three-pointers. Senior guards Chad Freeman and Cliff Van Hook had 11 points each for Del Norte.
Del Norte lost senior Saxon Schultz, who starts in the post, in the game against Foothill with a bad ankle sprain. Lopez said he will be out of action this week and hopes he will return in time for the start of the Big 5 Conference season. The first Big 5 game is on the road on Jan. 11 against Fortuna.
On Wednesday, Del Norte faces Hoopa on the road at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, the Warriors host Little 4 Conference opponent Ferndale at 7:30 p.m.
In a Friday evening matchup, Del Norte gained a victory against South Eugene, Ore., 41-38 to go to 6-6 for the year, equaling the number of wins the team had last season.
Head Coach Buzz McCulloch said the girls did a good job playing consistent defense and making open shots, which has been a problem early in the season. The team also shot a respectable 13-for-23 from the free throw line. Sophomore Lauryn Lesina led the Warriors with 10 points.
McCulloch added that South Eugene only lost to Yreka by one point earlier in the season. Yreka defeated Del Norte by 28 and 20 points earlier this season.
While the team played well Friday, it was a different story on Saturday against Hidden Valley, Ore.
After taking a quick 4-2 lead, it went downhill from there as the Warriors struggled to make shots, especially in the paint.
By the end of the half, the Warriors found themselves down 20-7 and went 3-for-28 from the field.
In the second half, the Warriors could not seem to gain any momentum and were outscored 16-5 in the fourth.
Junior Michelle Stacey led Del Norte with six points.
McCulloch said the girls need to learn to play with more consistently if they want to be competitive in Big 5 Conference play, which starts on Jan. 10 at home against Fortuna.
"The girls need to come out ready to play every game," he said. "We've got to become more consistent."
On Wednesday, the team travels to Hoopa to play a game beginning at 6 p.m.
On Thursday, the team starts a three game tournament in Redding. They face Oroville at 4 p.m. Thursday.