By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
HOOPA In a back-and-forth contest the Del Norte Warriors were able to pull away for the win against the Hoopa Warriors 65-58 on Wednesday night.
After a sluggish first half, where Del Norte could not seem to find its rhythm, the team came out more prepared in the second half and pulled away for the win.
While DN Warrior head coach Blaine Lopez was glad to get the road win, he said for the past two weeks his team has not played well in the first half.
"We've got to find a way to stop that," he said. "It's eventually going to get you."
With conference play starting next week, Lopez said his team can not come out slow in the first half if it wants to do well in the Big 5.
Hoopa got off to a quick 9-2 lead. playing an up-tempo style that Del Norte had trouble containing.
But, Del Norte was able to play more in control and slowly and surely whittled the lead to 11-9. The Hoopa Warriors made sure Del Norte did not mount a comeback by nailing a three-pointer to take a 14-9 first quarter lead.
At the start of the second, Del Norte roared back thanks to the contributions of Cole Lesley, who made an assist to Cody Hoffman for a score followed by a basket himself to cut the lead to 14-13.
A short time later, a basket by Hoffman gave Del Norte its first lead of the game at 15-14.
But Hoopa came right back and made key buckets, including a few three-pointers to take a 25-20 lead.
But the DN Warriors would not let Hoopa extended their lead. With about a minute left in the half, Cliff Van Hook put in a three-pointer to tie the game at 27. Hoopa was able to make a few clutch free throws at the end of the half to take the 30-29 lead.
In the second half, Del Norte was able to start to take control and leapt to a 45-40 lead. Hoopa came back and knotted things at 45 before the end of the third. At the end of the quarter Van Hooks hit a shot to give Del Norte the 47-45 advantage.
In the fourth, Del Norte was hot from the field, making its shots and playing well on the defense end. They had a 60-52 lead with 2:32 remaining. But Hoopa would not go down quietly, hitting a three-pointer to cut the lead to five with 2:25 left.
Finally, Del Norte shut the door by continuing to make its basket on its way to the win.
Lopez said his team played much better in the second half. He felt the key was they gave more effort doing things like diving to the floor to grab the ball that was lacking in the first half.
"We played with more of a sense of urgency and we made shots," he said.
Del Norte improved to 10-2 for the season while Hoopa fell to 8-3.
Hoffman led Del Norte scorers with 20 points and Chad Freeman had 17 points. Van Hook had 15 while Lesley had nine points.
Del Norte was without the services of starting post player Saxon Schultz and their other post player, Andrew Fallman.
In the junior varsity game the Warriors dominated Hoopa 57-17.
Del Norte next plays at home Friday night against Ferndale at 7:30 p.m.