It wasn’t always pretty, but the Del Norte girls basketball team pulled out a 56-50 victory over St. Bernard’s on Wednesday in Thunen Gymnasium in Jeff Cook’s varsity head coaching debut.
Sophomore guard Regin Loftin chases after a loose ball in the first half of Del Norte’s season opening victory. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
“It was ugly, but it was a win,” Cook said. “There is still a lot that we need to go over, there was a lot that we didn’t go over that I realized during the game, but they played through it.”
One of the main things that impressed Cook about his team was the hustle and determination shown by Del Norte throughout the game.
“They are going to play hard,” Cook said. “They did exactly what I wanted and a little bit more since we haven’t had that much time to practice together yet. I am happy with it.”
The Warriors led for nearly the entire game. Junior Grace Bruschi got off to a hot start, scoring seven points in the first quarter and helping Del Norte out to a 14-13 lead. In the second quarter, junior Kayla Costello caught fire, scoring the first seven points of the quarter as the Warriors expanded their lead to 34-24.
In the second half, Del Norte led by as many at 15 points before St. Bernard’s began chipping away at the lead, but it never got closer than six points.
Despite the comeback by St. Bernard’s, Del Norte continued its fast-paced style of play on both offense and defense.
“We had a comfortable lead, but I told them that we were going to keep pushing it,” Cook said. “I wanted to see who would handle the pressure, and I got a good idea now.”
Costello finished with a team-high 16 points, followed by Bruschi with 11. Shelby Bomke added 9 points and Jordan Babich scored 6 for Del Norte. Seven different Warriors scored points in the game, and all 11 girls on the roster got some playing time.
“I have got to figure out a rotation,” Cook said. “I told everybody that they would have a chance to play tonight, so I made sure that I stuck to my word on that.”
The girls are back on the hardwood today at the Yreka Tournament. The Warriors tip off at 1 p.m. If they win on Thursday, they will play again on Friday at 4 p.m. With a loss on Thursday, they play Friday at 10 a.m.