By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
Del Norte High was unable to come up with the win and the share of the Big 5 title Friday night, falling to Eureka in the regular season finale at home 58-49.
Down by as much as 17 points in the third quarter, the Warriors were able to fight back, tying it up in the fourth, but the Loggers were able to make enough big shots to seal the win.
"I thought we played as hard as we could," head coach Blaine Lopez said. "I'm proud of their effort."
The key was coming close in every quarter and letting the Loggers make a run at the end of each quarter, including a 9-0 run the end of the second as the Warriors found themselves down 11 at the half. Letting a good team like Eureka make runs will not win ball games, Lopez said.
"We were off," he said.
The Warriors finished 15-10 overall and 5-3 in Big 5 play ¬Ė good enough for second ¬Ė and now have to wait to see who they will face in the Dick Niclai postseason tournament.
Lopez said the team should find out today who they will play. He said he was told the game would be on Tuesday at home versus either Fortuna or Arcata.
At the start of the game, a full house enthusiastically cheered on Del Norte.
Friday night was also senior night, as the senior basketball players, drill team and cheerleaders were honored.
In the first quarter, both teams came out aggressive, shutting down the offensive with tough, physical defense, contesting every open shot. Down 4-0, the Warriors were able to take the lead 6-4 after Bryce Lund slammed the ball in.
But the Loggers were not fazed, making key takeaways and hitting shots to take a 12-6 lead at the end of the first.
In the second, Del Norte got as close as two, but near the end of the quarter, Eureka made a big run, including draining a few key 3-pointers to take a 27-16 halftime lead.
In the third, Eureka came out sharp, with Greg Allen draining a 3-pointer to take a 17 point lead.
But the Warriors battled back, and were able to methodically cut the lead to 37-34 on a free throw by Chad Freeman with 2:46 left in the quarter. By the end of the third, Del Norte was down 43-35.
In the fourth, the Warriors came out determined, not wanting to lose its chance at the Big-5 title, with Freeman draining a three to tie the game at 45 with 4:28 left. But the Loggers started to make shots and were able to go on to the nine-point victory.
Scott Redmond and Freeman each had 14, while Lund had 12 points.
Allen led Eureka scorers with 24 points, while Travis Tollner had 20.
Loggers head coach Duane Peterson said he was proud of how his team handled being on the road and pulling out the win.
"It was just a total team effort," he said. "We got some big buckets from the kids when Del Norte made the runs at us. I'm just happy to leave here with the win."
In junior varsity action, Del Norte won 49-42 and the freshman boys team also came away with the victory.