Girls basketball avenges early season loss to St. Mary's advances, to face Bandon in title game

For a while, Friday's first round game against St. Mary's at the Bandon Tournament looked like a cruel case of dejandagrave; vu for the Del Norte girls basketball team. The Warriors refused to fall into the same trap, however, and were able to escape with a 49-45 victory.

"It was a really fast-paced game," Cook said. "They pressed us off and on. They went to man against us too, last time they only played zone against us, so that kind of tripped us up a little. It was a very exciting close game."

Del Norte, which lost 48-48 to St. Mary's at the Phoenix (Ore.) Invitational on Dec. 13, played the Crusaders to a 21-21 draw in the first half.

In the second half, Del Norte started to heat up, pulling ahead by as many as 12 points just like the first time the two teams met.

Just like in December, St. Mary's went on a big run in the fourth quarter to tie the game back up.

"They made their run like they did the last time we played them," Cook said. "Then it was just back and forth for the last few minutes."

In Bandon, however, it was Del Norte that was able to come out of the mad scramble at the end with a victory.

"We kept our composure," Cook said. "Our ball handling was much better. We did a dribbling clinic this week, and I really believe that it helped a lot with our guards and even some of our forwards. That really helped."

One of the turning points of the game was when Grace Bruschi was fouled with about two minutes remaining. The Crusader was then given a technical. Bruschi only made two of her four ensuing free throws, but the Warriors retained possession and regained the lead.

"That was pretty much what put us ahead and we stayed ahead after that," Cook said.

Del Norte advances to play the winner of Jefferson and tournament host Bandon in the championship game today.

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