After making three straight baskets to open its Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League schedule, the Del Norte High boys’ basketball team fell behind McKinleyville High and struggled to catch up.
The Panthers delivered the finishing blow to the Warriors in the form of a 20-4 run over the game’s final 6 minutes and 30 seconds as Del Norte fell, 57-36, to McKinleyville at Del Norte High School on Friday night.
The Panthers (9-5 overall, 1-0 HDN Big 5) held a 13-11 lead after the first quarter before an 11-point outburst in the second quarter gave them a 24-15 lead over the Warriors.
Del Norte (5-7 overall, 0-1 HDN Big 5) cut into McKinleyville’s lead, trailing 27-22 at halftime and getting within three points of the Panthers before the big fourth-quarter run.
In the junior varsity game, Jonathan Calderon capped a rally from 18 points down in the second half, hitting a three-point basket with five seconds remaining, as Del Norte tied McKinleyville 49-49 in regulation. The Panthers, however, held the Warriors scoreless in overtime, winning 60-49 over Del Norte (4-10 overall).
The Del Norte High freshman team spoiled a possible McKinleyville sweep with a 41-36 win over the Panthers, improving its overall record to 5-1.
The Warriors travel to Eureka on Wednesday night in their next HDN League game. Freshman teams will begin play at 4:30 p.m., followed by the junior varsity at 6 p.m. and the varsity at 7:30 p.m.
McKinleyville girls 34, Del Norte girls 29
In the Del Norte High girls basketball HDN opener, played Thursday night at McKinleyville, a 12-6 third-quarter advantage for the Panthers proved the difference in an offense-optional game.
McKinleyville’s Tori Laidlaw led her team with seven points as the Panthers defeated Del Norte, 34-29. The Warriors slipped to 8-6 overall (0-1 HDN Big 5), with McKinleyville rising to 5-8 overall (1-0 HDN Big 5).
“Basically, we just didn’t come ready to play offensively,” Del Norte High coach Mike Ernest said. “(We had) a lot of missed easy buckets and open shots. I was disappointed in the aspect of how we executed offensively. You hold a team to the low 30s (in points), you should win the game.”
Though Ernest was complimentary of his team’s performance rebounding the ball and playing defense, little mistakes — the Warriors shot 1-of-10 from the free throw line — added up quickly against the Panthers.
The Warriors host Eureka on Tuesday night in their next HDN League game. Freshman teams will begin play at 4:30 p.m., followed by the junior varsity at 6 p.m. and the varsity at 7:30 p.m.