Del Norte goes 1-1 for week after defeating Ferndale
Del Norte High girls basketball coach Mike Ernest has set a benchmark for his players: If the Warriors make 60 percent of their free throws, the Warriors will win their games.
Del Norte players stepped to the free throw line 13 times in the fourth quarter against McKinleyville. The Warriors made four shots.
The Panthers made seven of their eight attempts, and in doing so iced a 55-51 victory over Del Norte Friday night at Del Norte High School.
"We competed and played hard, but hitting free throws at the end is a learned thing," Ernest said.
"McKinleyville played like champions. They've been there, done that. (In the fourth quarter,) they stepped up to the line like it was nothing. You could tell we were tentative."
It was a stunning turn of events for the Warriors (8-10 overall, 0-5 Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League), who played a strong first half, fell behind in the third quarter and overcame a 10-point deficit to take the lead - twice - late in the game.
The Warriors and Panthers (8-14 overall, 2-3 HDN Big 5) exited the halftime locker room tied at 28, but McKinleyville raced out to a 14-4 run in 5 minutes and 45 seconds.
Del Norte pieced together a comeback, capped by Regin Loftin's jumpshot to give the Warriors a 47-46 lead with 2:54 remaining. McKinleyville's Ashley Egbert made two free throws on the ensuing possession, and Kaitlyn Clemann responded with a jumpshot. The Panthers outscored the Warriors 7-2 over the final two minutes of the game to seal the victory. Del Norte did not attempt a free throw in the game's final four minutes.
Brittany Maready scored 21 points to lead the Warriors.
Del Norte 50, Ferndale 36
The Warriors outscored the Wildcats 25-8 in the fourth quarter of a non-league contest at Ferndale on Wednesday night.
Brittany Maready's 14 points paced the Warriors, and Regin Loftin contributed 11 points toward snapping a four-game losing streak.
Del Norte's junior varsity team got in on the action as well, defeating Ferndale 52-7 in Wednesday's early game.
Reach Robert Husseman at email@example.com.