Lose 48-37 in Big 5 contest
While the Del Norte Warriors boys varsity basketball team hung tough for the majority of the game against McKinleyville on the road Thursday night, the Warriors faltered in the final few minutes to lose the contest 48-37.
Senior Kiel Bellatti of Del Norte High looks to pass while guarded by a McKinleyville defender on the road Thursday night in Big 5 Conference action. Photo courtesy of Liz McCumsey
The first time these two squads met in Big 5 Conference action this season the Warriors lost 59-40 at home on Jan. 6.
The Panthers were without leading scorer Parker Farris, who averages around 20 points per game. While he suited up he did not play due to injury. Del Norte used this to its advantage at times against a team in contention for a Big 5 title this year.
“The kids played hard but we just didn’t play very well,” Warrior head coach Blaine Lopez said. “We couldn’t score when we needed to and they (McKinleyville) were able to score when they needed to.”
The first period was an absolute defensive battle as the Warriors forced several turnovers and were able to contain the Mack offensive attack.
By the end of the quarter Del Norte trailed 9-7.
The second quarter continued to be a back and forth affair as neither team was able to take control of the proceedings. Later in the quarter the Panthers went on a mini run and had a 22-17 advantage at the half.
Del Norte came out on fire to start the third quarter and went on a 8-0 run.
This incudes two three-pointers by senior Darian Simpson, who led Warrior scorers with 14 points.
But Del Norte was unable to capitalize as they trailed 34-29 by the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Del Norte continued to hang around and got as close as three points to the Panthers.
Senior Darian Simpson of Del Norte High guards a player from McKinleyville on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Liz McCumsey
Thanks to converting seven free throws in the final few minutes, McKinleyville was able to extend the lead on its way to the 11-point victory. Del Norte could only muster up eight points for the quarter while the Panthers had 14 points.
“Obviously that made a difference,” Lopez said. “I was disappointed because we had our chances and we didn’t take advantage of that.”
Collin Taylor finished with six points for the Warriors. Raul Zepeda, Aaron Fitch and Colby Japp each had four points apiece for Del Norte. Ryland Hollins finished with three points and Jacob Dorosz had two points.
Christian Enos led Mack scorers with 15 points.
McKinleyville improved to a 15-5 overall mark and 4-1 in the Big 5 while Del Norte feel to 1-4 in the Big 5 and 5-12 overall.
Things went well in the freshman contest as Del Norte improved to 7-0 for the year with a 40-26 victory. In the junior varsity game the Warriors lost to the Panthers, 33-27.
Del Norte next plays on Tuesday on the road at Eureka. The Warriors do not play at home until the regular season finale on Feb. 9 against Arcata