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DN boys open Big 5 season tonight

Face Eureka on the road at 7:30 p.m.

Although the Del Norte  High Warriors have had their share of struggles this season, head coach Scott Alexander has hope things can turn around in Big 5 Conference play.

Tonight, the 4-8 Warriors take on the 4-9 Eureka Loggers on the road.

“I feel optimistic going in,” Alexander said. “The guys are excited to start ... Our goal is to always try to win league. That’s any team’s goal. We’ve just got to keep on working.”

While the Warriors’ record going into the Big 5 might not be ideal, Alexander said the schedule has been very difficult.

This included games against elite teams such as Enterprise and Pinole Valley.

Although Alexander believes there were games the team should have won, such as  when they gave up a six point lead with around three minutes remaining in a loss against West Valley, he believes the tough schedule will only help them.

Girls open Big 5 season

Del Norte brings 10-6 record into game versus Eureka

For the first time in several years the Del Norte High girls varsity basketball team will bring a winning record into Big 5 Conference play.

Tonight, the 10-6 Warriors face the 9-4 Eureka Loggers at home.

After winning a total of eight games and going winless in the Big 5 last season, Warrior head coach Buzz McCulloch likes  his team’s chances of playing in the postseason this year.

“The girls are  playing well,” McCulloch said. “This group works hard in practice. Everyone buys into what we’re doing.”

McCulloch said the Big 5 will again be quite tough this season, with every team coming in with a winning record. Fortuna is 13-1, McKinleyville 12-2 and Arcata 8-7.

McCulloch hopes that facing good competition before the conference season has prepared the Warriors for the challenges that await in the Big 5. Accomplishments have included winning a tournament in Mount Shasta last month.

“We just have to build on what we have done,” he said. “This is when it counts. We’re just taking it one game at a time.”

Del Norte is coming off a 1-2 performance at the Enterprise Tournament in Redding.

On Saturday, in the third place game, the Warriors lost 46-43 to Foothill of Palo Cedro, which is located near Redding.

Del Norte was in control for almost the entire game but relinquished the lead with less than a minute remaining.

McCulloch said he was pleased with the team’s performance, but little things, such as fatigue and injury, factored into losing the game.

This included losing starting  senior point guard Katy Suzuki to an apparent sprained ankle near the end of the first half. She is not expected to play tonight but should return to the lineup soon, McCulloch said

“It kind of hurt us a little bit,” he said, explaining that losing their starting point guard hurt the Warriors’ rhythm as the game went on against Foothill.

Del Norte was led by senior Lauryn Lesina with 19 points. Junior Casey Walch and senior Lexie Nelson each had six points, while Suzuki and senior Paula Rhodes each finished with five points. Junior Kristyn Rook had two points.

Tonight’s home game will be only the second of the season for Del Norte.

The varsity game begins at 7:30 p.m. at Thunen Gym with the freshman game starting at 4:30 p.m. and the junior varsity game starting at 6 p.m.

DN wrestlers take part in tournament

Warriors have home dual meet on Wed. Jan. 13

The Del Norte High wrestling squad had two grapplers place at the elite Nor Cal Tournament in Anderson on Friday and Saturday.

The event featured 50 teams and gave the Warriors tough competition before the Humboldt-Del Norte Confe­rence season begins on Wedn­esday, assistant coach Clinton Schaad said.

Junior Jordan Lacy at 119 and senior Kai Lemrise at 189 both came in eighth place.

Schaad said two other wrestlers — Ivan Puente at 215 and Shane Endemano at 135 — came close to placing but lost in their respective eighth-place matches.

Considering that three starters were unable to compete because of injury and illness, and a few starters from the start of the season are no longer with the team, Schaad was pleased with how the squad performed.

This included Puente, who is the backup at 215 to starter Barrick Sala, who was out with a rib injury.

Schaad commended Puente and the other backups and newcomers for coming in and wrestling well in such a tough tournament.

On Wednesday, Del Norte hosts the first of only two home dual meets this season when they face Fortuna in the conference opener. The matches are set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Thunen Gym at the high school.

The Warriors are seeking their third straight HDNC title this season. Schaad said the entire team is pumped up to finally begin conference matches and to defend their crown.

He hopes that a decent crowd will come out to cheer  the grapplers on.

“The kids really appreciate it,” Schaad said.

DN girls to vie for 3rd at tourney

DN girls win at tourney

Coach feels great about 10-4 record

The Del Norte High girls basketball team handily defeated Oroville High 39-21 at the Enterprise Tournament in Redding on Thursday night.

With a score of 29-7 at halftime, Coach Buzz Mc­Culloch was able to rest his starters.

“We were pounding them,” McCulloch said. “We could have buried these guys and won by 30 or 40 points, but I played other girls so everybody got a chance to play,” McCulloch said.

Lauryn Lesina scored 18 points; Lexie Nelson added 5; Casey Walsh and Katy Suzuki contributed 4 points each.

Today the Warriors will play either Enterprise or Liberty Christian in the second game of three at the tournament.

With a 10-4 record Mc­Culloch feels great about how the Warriors’ season is going, he said, but he expects the challenges to mount as Del Norte enters league play next week, beginning with a home against Eureka on Tuesday.

“We’re in a tournament and we want to win, but we’ve really got to focus on next week because the Big 5 is going to be tough this year,” McCulloch said.

DN girls win by 20 points

The Del Norte High Warriors girls basketball team painted the court in Hoopa sweat Monday.

Shooting 76 percent from the free throw line, the Warriors beat Hoopa 60-40.

“We’re so pumped,” said head coach Buzz McCulloch. “The girls played great defense and made 13 of 17 free throw shots.”

Warrior Lauryn Lesina led the game with 34 points, shooting five three-pointers.

“Lauryn made 11 of 13 from the free point line,” said McCullcoch.

Lexie Nelson and Katy Suzuki also contibuted heavily to the Warriors’ win, Nelson scored 12 and Suzuki made a crucial six points.

“That was our highest scoring game this year,” McCulloch said. “The highest before this was 56 points.”

DN boys eke out late win

The Del Norte High Warrior boys basketball team scraped a win Monday night, despite being behind for most of the game.

Del Norte beat Hoopa 50 to 46, only taking the lead late in the fourth quarter.

Hoopa came out shooting early and  led by as much as 9 points in the first half.

Despite struggling with shooting and moving the ball in the first half, Del Norte rallied in the second quarter and managed to keep Hoopa to a 23-21 lead at half time.

In the second half Del Norte started pressuring Hoopa, and tied the game 33-33 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.

Del Norte seemed to suddenly come alive as the the fourth quarter began and started dominating the floor, but it wasn’t until the last two minutes of the game that they took the lead and kept it for good.

In the last 58 seconds of play, Del Norte lead 49-46, and Hoopa started fouling, but it was to no avail, and the Del Norte Warriors took home a 50-46 victory making them four and eight.

Warriors wrestlers shorthanded at tourney

The Del Norte High School wrestling team took to the mats in Eagle Point, Ore., over the weekend, but couldn’t overcome being shorthanded.

“We did okay,” said assistant coach Clinton Schaad. “But we were down six kids, so we had six forfeits each team we wrestled.”

The tournament had a dual meet format, meaning Del Norte squared off one-on-one against several other teams.

“We started each match down 36 points,” Schaad said, referring to forfeits from being shorthanded. “If it wasn’t for all the forfeits, we would probably have been in the top two.”

Schaad was still proud of the team members that did make the tournament.

“We still tied the top team that won it,” Schaad said. “Everybody that was there wrestled well and got good experience. Now we just have to prepare for this weekend’s tournament.”

‘Nice to be back’

‘Bronc’ home in Del Norte for holidays

Del Norte graduate and two-time state heavyweight champion Roger McCovey, right, now wrestles for North Idaho College. Courtesy of North Idaho College
Roger “Bronc” McCovey has continued to perform at a high level on collegiate wrestling mats.

McCovey, a 2009 Del Norte High graduate, left the school as the two-time state heavyweight champion and went undefeated his final two years.

Now a freshman at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, McCovey is ranked third in the country for junior college heavyweights by the National Junior College Athletic Association. North Idaho is also ranked third overall in the NJCAA team poll.

McCovey is home in Crescent City for the winter break.

“It’s been nice to be back,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve been gone for a while.”

Despite suffering a serious flu bug that had him bedridden for more than a week last month, McCovey was still able to wrestle in his team’s last two matches before winter break, winning both.

McCovey is ready to return to action in January and try to help  North Idaho win a national junior college wrestling title after placing second last season. The Cardinals have won 13 junior college  national championships.

“It would mean a lot to me to help this team win another national title,” McCovey said. He admitted that it would also be nice to earn a national title himself.

McCovey greets a young fan at a North Idaho College wrestling match. Courtesy of North Idaho College
McCovey greets a young fan at a North Idaho College wrestling match. Courtesy of North Idaho College
McCovey said wrestling on the college level is much different and more challenging than when he was seemingly tossing fellow wrestlers like rag dolls in high school.

He was so dominating at Del Norte no one had a takedown on him his junior and senior years until his second state title match last March, and he pinned that opponent a short time later.

“There’s a lot more competition on this level,” McCovey said. Back in high school, he said, he used his size and quickness to overwhelm the competition. But his college opponents, including a fair share of NCAA division 1A wrestlers, are often as big and quick as he is.

The trick, McCovey said, is to have a good strategy and know the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.

For example, McCovey said  on Nov. 13 he face Corey Anderson of Lincoln College, currently the No. 2-ranked JC heavyweight wrestler in the nation, and lost 4-2.

Warriors devoured by Wolves 66-57

Del Norte keeps things close before Shasta pulls away in the final period

 The Del Norte High Warriors boys varsity basketball team went winless at the 14th annual Jamie Angley Hornet Classic. 

Playing in the seventh place game Wednesday afternoon in Redding, Del Norte lost to the Shasta Wolves 66-57 to drop to 3-8 for the year. Shasta improved to 6-5.

The first half was a seesaw affair as both teams kept things close.

At the end of the first quarter the Warriors had a 13-11 lead. With the score tied midway through the second quarter the Wolves went on a run and took a 27-20 lead. With time running out in the half, junior point guard Layton O’Reilley stole the ball and found senior post player Chris Scott, who was fouled with 2.7 seconds left.

He drained both free throws to cut the lead to a single point at the end of the half.

In the third period both teams could not obtain a substantial lead. At the end of the quarter O’Reilley nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to knot things up at 44 apiece.

In the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 50-50, turnovers and missed shots came back to haunt Del Norte as Shasta went on a major run and took a 62-50 lead.

While Del Norte cut down the lead to single digits it came too late as the Warriors fell by nine points.

Leading the way for Del Norte was junior Nick McBride with 16 points, including two three-pointers.

O’Reilley and  Travis Stacey each finished with nine points. Stacey made three three pointers for the contest.

Zach Heglemeyer had eight points while Brandon Kakitsuka and Scott each had four points. Wyatt Hegnes had three points and Barrett McClaflin and Scottie Skeen each had two points.

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