Slow starts are beginning to become a habit for the Del Norte boys basketball team. The Warriors fell to 3-4 overall this season after a 69-53 loss to Eagle Point in Medford on Tuesday.
Through Del Norte's first two tournaments, the Warriors have had trouble finding their shooting touch early, but against Eagle Point, they had a few things go wrong off the bat.
"Their pressure bothered us and we turned the ball over," said Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez. "They also out-rebounded us. We are undersized pretty much every night, so like I have said before, we have to play extremely hard to stay in it. We gave up 12-14 offensive rebounds in the first quarter and we had eight turnovers in the first quarter. That is not going to work."
Eagle Point took advantage of the Warrior miscues and ran out to a 21-7 first quarter advantage. It stretched the lead to 22 points at halftime.
"They are good," Lopez said. "You have to give them credit, they got after us. They have good guard play, their two guards are quick, strong and pretty physical, and they shot the ball really well."
Lopez was more pleased with how his team responded in the second half, cutting the deficit to 11 points in the fourth quarter.
"We just can't start slowly," Lopez said. "We have to figure out some way to start quicker. We just can't bury ourselves that deep to start the game."
Although the final score didn't end up in Del Norte's favor, Lopez thought the game was a good preview of Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 play coming up after winter break.
"That team would be very competitive in our league," Lopez said. "That is the kind of team we are going to see. Our league is pretty good. So that kind of gives us an idea of where we need to be. We have to play the first half like we played the second half. We have got to learn that we can't even take a possession off, let alone a quarter."
The Del Norte boys will be back on the court Friday at the tournament at Brookings-Harbor. The Warriors will play Phoenix (Ore.) in the first round.
Del Norte met Phoenix in the semifinals at the Phoenix Tournament over the weekend. The Warriors fell behind early in that game too. They tied the game late, but Phoenix was able to pull out the victory 44-42 on a buzzer-beating shot.
"I think the kids are looking forward to it," Lopez said of the team's first round draw. "They are a good team, don't get me wrong. They deserved to beat us, it's not like it was a fluke, it was a good shot and they made it and beat us. The kids are looking forward to playing them again though, and stepping up to the challenge."
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org.