Chalk up one more accomplishment for the Del Norte High girls basketball team this season.
The Warriors have already won five times as many games in 2012–13 as in 2011–12, and now one of those is a Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League victory.
Senior Brittany Maready scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Del Norte in a 53-41 upset over Eureka High in Eureka Wednesday.
The Warriors (10-10 overall, 1-5 HDN Big 5) entered the game in last place in the HDN Big 5 League but walked out having dealt the Loggers (12-6 overall, 4-1 HDN Big 5) their first league loss of the season. Eureka now stands tied with Arcata (4-1 HDN Big 5) at the top of the Big 5, with Fortuna (3-3 HDN Big 5) and McKinleyville (2-4 HDN Big 5) right behind.
“They were elated,” Warriors head coach Mike Ernest said of his players. “This is a good win for the program, for the parents, for the players. We just went out and won this game.”
Indeed, Del Norte parlayed a two-point first-quarter advantage into a 26-18 halftime lead. “We played tremendous defense and we rebounded well,” Ernest said.
The Loggers fought back in the third quarter with a 10-0 run that threatened to derail the Warriors’ promising start. Del Norte responded by outscoring Eureka 27-13 over the remainder of the game, going 12-21 from the free throw line.
Senior Taylor Cleland scored 14 points while playing what Ernest called “her best game of the season.” Junior Kaitlyn Clemann contributed eight points and 10 rebounds and limited Eureka’s Riann Thayer — “their best player,” according to Ernest — to a team-high 12 points.
“I used a quote (this week): ‘Luck is the result of preparation and hard work,’” Ernest said. “We’ve worked hard all year long. This was how I expected us to play. This was a great win.”
The Warriors travel to Fortuna on Tuesday for their penultimate game of the season.