The Del Norte boys basketball team finished second at the Brookings-Harbor Tournament on Saturday. The Warriors fell 54-49 in the championship game against host Brookings-Harbor in the final.
Del Norte lost a close game against Brookings-Harbor in the first game of the year in the Yreka Tournament. Although they lost another close game, the Warriors showed clear signs of progress.
"This was a much better basketball game," said Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez. "Both teams played much better."
Del Norte got out to a strong start in the game. After initially finding themselves down 14-12, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run to grab hold of the lead.
The Warriors led by as much as 11 points. But then sophomore guards Steven Maready and Josh Gruden got hit with a couple quick penalties and had to sit.
"That was a huge turning point in the game," Lopez said. "We were playing really well and extending the lead a little bit at that time. I had to take those two kids out in the last two minutes and they cut the lead in half."
Brookings-Harbor closed the Del Norte lead to six points at halftime.
The Bruins then opened the second half with a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at 30 with 5:50 left in the third quarter.
"We were forced to play with a different group of kids for longer," Lopez said. "It wasn't the fault of any of the kids that came in, but it affected our cohesiveness, we had kids in there that haven't played together a whole lot. It changes the way that we do things."
Although Brookings-Harbor was able to climb back into it, Del Norte came back to life midway through the third quarter.
Over the next seven minutes of play, there were six ties and three lead changes.
The game stayed within one possession until there was a minute left in the game, but the Warriors couldn't knock down any shots to pull ahead.
"I thought that they made their free throws and shots and we missed our free throws and shots," Lopez said. "That was the difference."
The Warriors were 1-1 overall at the Brookings-Harbor Tournament, beating Phoenix 46-32 in the semifinals.
"The one thing I was really proud of over the weekend, is we played extremely hard," Lopez said. "I think the execution was better too. We are not where we need to be yet, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak."
The Warriors are 4-5 overall this season. They now have some time off over Winter Break. They will not play again until the Bandon Tournament running Jan. 3-4.
Reach Michael Zogg at email@example.com.