By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Warriors versus Loggers tonight's game for the Del Norte High boys varsity basketball team will be another in a long line of important games against Big 5 Conference rival Eureka.
The Warriors come into the contest with a 12-3 overall mark and are 2-1 in the Big 5, as is Eureka, who is 14-7 overall.
Both teams are licking their wounds from upset losses sustained on Friday.
Del Norte suffered a 63-58 double overtime loss on the road to McKinleyville, while Eureka fell to Hoopa of the Little 4, 61-58.
"We're just going to try to get better," Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez said.
Lopez said his team lacked intensity on Friday and needs to get it back against against the Loggers.
"We need to step up the pace and shoot better," he said, adding poor free throw shooting has hindered the team.
Against the Panthers, Del Norte shot only 10-for-27 from the free throw line.
Lopez added the squad needs to step up its defensive play, put pressure on the Loggers and not let them have easy shots.
Eureka is led by junior guard Greg Allen, who was named Big 5 MVP last year as a sophomore. He is currently averaging 20.9 points a game, is second on the team in rebounds and first in assists.
"He's a good all-around player," Lopez said, adding his squad needs to contain him and make sure to carefully watch his teammates as well, so one or more of them does not get hot.
He added the Loggers "are young, but they have really improved. There going to be tough...They are pretty comfortable coming here."
The Warriors have had a number of players step it up this year. Recently, junior forward Cody Hoffman has come into his own and has been rock solid on both ends of the floor, making key blocks and rebounds on defense and being an inside presence on offense. He scored 15 points against Arcata last week and 15 at McKinleyville.
Senior guard Cliff Van Hook was lights out on offense against the Tigers last week, hitting six three-pointers and scoring 24 points.
He also made a three-pointer against the Panthers at the end of the first overtime to send the game into a second overtime.
Senior post player Saxon Schultz has been a key presence in the paint on both ends of the floor, and scored 12 points against the Panthers.
In the Big 5, Arcata is on top of the standings at 3-1, the Warriors and Loggers are in a second place tie, McKinleyville is at 1-2 and Fortuna is 0-3.
The contest begins at 7:30 p.m. at Thunen Gym. The junior varsity team plays at 6 p.m. while the freshman squad starts at 4:30 p.m.
Del Norte plays a second game at home on Thursday against St. Bernard's of the Little 4 at 7:30 p.m.