Bill Choy, The Triplicate

A flat, uninspired performance doomed the Del Norte Warriors boys varsity basketball team on the road Tuesday night.

Facing Little 4 Conference opponent Ferndale, the Warriors lost 55-44.

"We got outmatched. We got outworked. We got outplayed," Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez said. "I've got to do a better job getting us ready to play. We didn't come out prepared."

In the first quarter, Ferndale was on fire and quickly took a 7-0 lead.

The Warriors started to battle back. A three-pointer by Ryland Hollins with around 4:40 left cut the Wildcats lead to 7-5.

A basket inside by Colby Japp near the end of the quarter got the Warriors within two at 11-9.

At the start of the second quarter Justin Lang of Ferndale scored to

make things 13-9. Lang scored the first 13 points of the game for the

Wildcats. He finished with 21 points to lead Ferndale.

Throughout the second quarter Del Norte struggled mightly as the Wildcats took advantage.

By the end of the quarter the Warriors had scored a paltry one point and the Wildcats led 25-10 at the half.

"We were flat," Lopez said. "It was a disappointing performance."

Besides the obvious problems on offense, Lopez was also unhappy with

his defense, normally a strength, as the Warriors allowed too many easy

scoring opportunities.

In the third quarter, Ferndale took its biggest lead of the night at 36-20 on a free throw with around three minutes left.

But Del Norte battled back. A basket by Raul Zepeda at the end of the quarter cut the Wildcats' lead to 38-28.

In the final quarter Ferndale denied the Warriors' comeback bid and held on for the 11-point victory.

Senior Darian Simpson led Del Norte scorers with 12 points. Collin Taylor had eight points and Japp finished with seven points.

Hollins had six points while Zepeda and Aaron Fitch finished with five points apiece.

Del Norte fell to 5-11 overall while Ferndale improved to 9-8.

In the junior varsity game, the Warriors earned a 48-21 victory.

Tonight, Del Norte resumes Big 5 play at McKinleyville starting at

7:30 p.m. The freshman game begins at 4:30 p.m. and junior varsity gets

under way around 6 p.m.

Del Norte lost to the Panthers in the first meeting of the season

Jan. 6 in Crescent City, 59-40. McKinleyville comes in with a 14-5

overall mark and is 3-1 in the Big 5 while Del Norte is 1-3 in the Big


Lopez said that his team has to play a top-notch game if it wants to

come away with a victory against one of the better teams in the Big 5.

"We have to be focused and we've got to take care of the ball, limit

our turnovers and make shots," he said. "We just have to play better."

Reach Bill Choy at