By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
For the six senior members of the Del Norte boys basketball team, being on the squad has helped them obtain many valuable life lessons.
"Work ethic," Scott Redmond said.
"Work hard, play hard," replied Michael Daniels.
"Responsibility," Abran Rivera said.
For the seniors, from starters, to those at the end of the bench, their time as Warriors has been an experience they will always cherish as they look towards graduation and the rest of their lives.
"It's a bunch of good guys here," senior Bryce Lund said.
Head Coach Blaine Lopez said he has enjoyed watching his seniors grow as players and people in front of his eyes.
Many of the senior players he has known since they were children, having friendships with many of their parents or family ties. Senior Logan Lopez is his cousin.
"It's been interesting for me," Blaine Lopez said. "It's not only a basketball relationship, it goes beyond that."
With this group of seniors, Lopez said they have embraced the team's philosophy of working as one, that no one player is above the others, and that each team member is equally vital.
Prima donna's certainly need not apply for this basketball squad.
Lopez said this "team philosophy" is "ingrained before they get here," on the freshman and junior varsity squads.
He said the seniors, none of whom had started until this year, perfectly fit that philosophy, with each embracing their roles on the team and doing their part to ensure the program is successful.
Three members of the senior class, Sean Brock, Lund and Redmond consistently start.
Daniels, Lopez and Rivera come off the bench.
Each one brings certain skills to the table.
Brock is known as a defensive stopper, who works hard to fluster the other team and grab turnovers. Redmond has been a consistent scorer and rebounder throughout the year while Lund has become the teams most consistent scorer.
Lopez has done well on defense, while Daniels has been a spark off the bench, recently leading the team in scoring and hitting several key shots versus Arcata last week.
"Everyone knows each others roles," Redmond said.
While Rivera admits he's the player on the end of the bench, he said it has been amazing contributing to the team and being part of the squad. This is his first year on the varsity team.
"I'm just lucky to be on the team," he said. "Playing with these guys, I have learned a lot."
Rivera is grateful to Lopez for being a great coach and mentor to all the players on the team.
"He's taught me a lot of stuff," he said. "I want to thank him for helping me and the whole team out."
Coach Lopez said the seniors, as well as other members of the team, have each contributed during the year.
"It has been different guys on different nights that have made contributions," he said. "Each one has done something to help and contribute in different ways."
He said the team mentality and being good players and good people has been embraced by the seniors.
Lopez recalled earlier in the year when the team was at a tournament in Yreka. A woman who graduated from Del Norte High called the principal and told him she ran into a group of players eating out and was impressed with how the players conducted themselves in public.
Lopez said this meant a lot to him. He added his seniors set the tone on the team and are a positive example to the rest of the squad on how to conduct themselves in public and on the court.
"The kids are great," he said, adding it's a nice feeling as a coach knowing his players will conduct themselves well in the community and understand their responsibilities as student athletes.
He hopes what his players learn playing basketball can help them in their lives ¬Ė that hard work pays off and that while not everything in life may work out the way you want, to persevere, be strong, and understand the importance of getting along with those around you.
On Thursday, the seniors said while there have been ups and downs throughout the year, they were pumped and excited to be playing for a co-share of the Big 5 title against Eureka at home on Friday.
"We're ready," Lund said. "We know what we can do."