The Del Norte boys basketball team survived a sluggish start to the Phoenix (Ore.) Tournament on Thursday, but bounced back for a 45-35 victory over St. Mary's in the first round.
Del Norte scored 32 of its 45 points in the second half, to erase a 14-13 halftime deficit.
"We made a few shots in the second half, that helps," said Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez. "In the first half, we just couldn't throw it in the ocean. Once shots started to fall, it was kind of contagious. It is funny how that works."
Although the Warriors offense heated up in time to pull out the victory, it was the defense that kept them in the game.
"That is who we are and what we have to do every week," Lopez said. "It was nice to see that we did a good job defensively and gave ourselves a chance in the second half. If we hadn't played so well on defense, the game could have easily been over at halftime."
Junior Stevie Maready finished the game with a team-high 19 points. Josh Gruden chipped in 11 points for the Warriors.
Del Norte faced host Pheonix in the semifinals Friday with the game still in progress at press time. Lopez said Pheonix is "probably the best team we have played so far."
A victory would send them into the championship on Saturday; a loss would put them in the third-place game.