Fall at home on senior night 56-42
A rebuilding season for the Del Norte Warriors varsity basketball ended in a loss to Big 5 Conference opponent Arcata on Thursday, 56-42.
TOP: Del Norte High Warrior senior post player Colby Japp looks for a shot guarded by two Arcata defenders Thursday night in Crescent City. Del Norte lost the game by 14 points Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson .
Del Norte battled back and cut the lead to six in the fourth quarter before the Tigers broke away to earn the win and the Big 5 title that went with it.
With only three players and no starters back from last year’s team that earned a co-share of the Big 5 title, Warrior head coach Blaine Lopez had to rebuild the squad with a fair share of newcomers, including a few key sophomores.
In the first quarter, Del Norte took the early lead at 2-0 on a drive to the basket by senior Collin Taylor.
The rest of the quarter Del Norte could not stop the Tigers’ attack at all. Led by senior Tom Witzel, who has already earned a scholarship to play hoops at Humboldt State, Arcata dominated. By the end of the quarter the Tigers had a very comfortable 18-7 advantage.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” Lopez said.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same as the Warriors struggled to hit shots or stop the Tigers on offense and found themselves down 34-19 at the half.
In the second half, Del Norte played much better on both ends of the floor as the Warriors began to make a game of it and put preassure on the Tigers to produce.
With the Warriors trailing 43-27 early in the final quarter Del Norte started to get hot from the floor and went on a 15-5 run.
With three minutes left in the game senior Darian Simpson made a clutch three-pointer that had the crowd on its feet. The shot cut the lead down to 48-42 and gave Del Norte hope they could come back.
Even the student section, which had been fairly silent for most the game came alive as “Let’s go Warriors, let’s go Warriors,” could be heard being shouted out.
The Tigers had other ideas as they did not allow the Warriors to score another point on their way to a 14-point victory.
Lopez was proud of the way his team refused to quit in the second half and fought back to make a potential blowout more of a competitive contest. “They battled until the end,” he said.
Del Norte ended the season 6-14 overall and 2-6 in the Big 5. Arcata improved to 7-1 in the Big 5 and 20-4 overall.
Simpson led the Warriors with 13 points. Doug Ovick, Colby Japp and Taylor each finished with six points apiece for Del Norte. Witzel finished with 20 points for Arcata.
Before the start of the game, the Warriors senior basketball players and senior members of the cheer and drill teams were honored. Warriors basketball players that were honored were Japp, Simpson, Taylor and Kiel Bellatti.