Earn 52-43 victory versus the Crusaders
The weather may have been nasty, cold and rainy outside but inside Thunen Gym Wednesday night things were heating up as the Del Norte Warrior boys basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak.
Aaron Fitch of Del Norte goes towards the basket against St. Bernard’s on Wednesday night in Crescent City. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Facing Little 4 Conference opponent St. Bernard’s of Eureka before starting the Big 5 season on Friday, the Warriors earned a 52-43 victory over the Crusaders.
The score was a bit deceptive as Del Norte led by as much as 20 early in the fourth quarter. That’s when the Del Norte coaching staff brought in the bench with around six minutes left and St. Bernard’s cut the lead down a bit.
“We did some good things,” Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez said. “I liked our energy. Overall we played well. This was a positive step for us.”
Del Norte improved to 4-7 overall while St. Bernard’s fell to 3-11 for the year.
Sophomore Aaron Fitch and junior Raul Zepeda led Warrior scorers with 13 points each. Fitch was a force inside, grabbing rebounds and putting them in for points while Zepeda was a threat from three-point range as well as inside.
The Warriors appeared focused and calm to start the game as they went about setting the tempo from the start.
Del Norte could not be denied in the paint as they were able to muscle in for rebounds, grabbing missed shots and putting the ball in the basket.
By the end of the quarter Del Norte had the 11-4 advantage.
To begin the second quarter, Zepeda drained a three-pointer and then was fouled on a technical foul. He made both free throws to give the Warriors the 16-7 lead.
Raul Zepeda of Del Norte High during Wednesday night’s game against St. Bernard’s. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
With Del Norte holding on to a 26-18 lead near the end of the quarter, St. Bernard’s scored at the buzzer as Del Norte had a 26-20 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Del Norte made things clear from the start that this was their game to win and dominated on both sides of the ball. By the end of the quarter Del Nore had a 44-26 advantage.
In the fourth quarter, with the game well in hand Lopez put in his bench players to give them more experience.
Del Norte is quite a young team, with only three returners from last year. Despite a bit of a run by St. Bernard’s, Del Norte held on for the nine-point win,
In the junior varsity contest the Warriors looked sharp in defeating the Crusaders 48-40.
Del Norte opens the Big 5 season on Friday at home against McKinleyville.
The varsity contest starts at 7:30 p.m. Before that the junior junior varsity and freshman teams will play.
The Panthers are 8-4 for the year. Lopez said they should be one of the best teams in the league and the Warriors have to play smart, error free basketball to be competitive.
Lopez said his squad must play with the same intensity they did Wednesday night and hopes the win will give his team a confidence boost.