By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Tonight will be the last time the senior members of the Del Norte High girls varsity basketball team will take the court at Thunen Gym.
The Warriors face Eureka in Big 5 Confer-ence action at 7:30 p.m. in the final regular season game of the year for Del Norte (10-15 overall, 1-5 in the Big 5).
While the season has been full of ups and downs, the senior girls say it has been a memorable experience playing basketball in high school.
This year, the Warriors fielded a young team, with only two returning senior starters, Robyn Suzuki and Bailee McCulloch, on the roster.
A third senior, Julia Santos, joined the team this year.
Suzuki is the starting point guard while McCulloch starts in a wing spot.
Head coach Buzz McCulloch, in his fourth year as coach, said all three players have made contributions to this year's team.
While Santos, a post player, has seen little game action this season, her enthusiasm has not dimmed, McCulloch said.
Santos always works hard at practice, giving it her all, and is a good presence on the team, he said.
"She likes playing," McCulloch said. "She has a good attitude."
Suzuki, who has played varsity basketball since her junior year is a 4-foot-10 sparkplug known for her tireless effort and not being easily intimidated.
McCulloch said many times, Suzuki can be found pursuing a rebound against much taller girls, or diving for the loose ball.
Even when down by a large margin, which has occurred several times this season, Suzuki has always played hard until the buzzer sounds, McCulloch said.
"Robyn gives 110 percent all the time," he said, comparing her to the Energizer Bunny. "She keeps going and going."
Suzuki said it's important to always play hard and have fun.
"It's more rewarding knowing that you at least did your best," she said.
McCulloch said Suzuki is a good influence on her teammates and gives it her all in her studies as well.
A good student, McCulloch said, Suzuki can normally be found during the bus rides to road games with a book in her hand, studying.
"She's been a pleasure to have on the team," McCulloch said.
Suzuki said she has enjoyed her time as a member of the basketball team.
"It's been a lot of fun," she said. "We've got a really good group of girls."
Suzuki said it would be great if she could continue to play basketball in college. If not, she plans to continue to play in college intermural leagues.
Bailee McCulloch is an athletic player who uses her speed and jumping ability to her advantage, Buzz McCulloch said.
A top competitor for the high school track and field team, Buzz McCulloch said she has a vertical jump of 34 inches.
He said she has used that to her advantage on defense and has made some nice rebounds and blocks and has used her speed to race down the court.
Bailee is the youngest child of Buzz McCulloch, and he said it has been "a challenge" at times coaching his child.
It can be tough finding the balance of being fair and not trying to play favorite. There has been times Buzz McCulloch said, when he believes he has been too hard on Bailee.
But, he said, that goes with the territory and said, overall, he has many fond memories of watching Bailee play as both a father and a coach.
Bailee McCulloch said she has enjoyed for the most part being coached by her dad and said while their have been challenges, the experience has been positive. She said if she had the chance of doing it again, she would.
"It has been fun to have her on the team," Buzz McCulloch said. I'll miss not having her around."
McCulloch said she has enjoyed her time as a Warrior and "gave it my all."
A highlight for McCulloch was beating Eureka last month on the road for the Warriors' first conference win in two seasons.
McCulloch said it would be a perfect finish to her Warrior career to earn another win against the Loggers at home.
"If we beat them it would be amazing," she said.
McCulloch hopes to continue her athletic career in college, most likely in track and field and is currently looking at all her options.
Besides the varsity team, the junior varsity squad plays its last game of the season at Thunen Gym at 6 p.m, while the freshman team has its match at 4:30 p.m.
A profile on the seniors of the Del Norte High boy's basketball team will run in The Triplicate next week.