The Del Norte boys basketball team kicked off 2014 with a quality 50-33 victory over St. Mary's in the first round of the Bandon Dunes Holiday Invitational in Bandon, Ore., on Friday.
Del Norte was plagued by cold shooting early in the game, and St. Mary's was able to take advantage and build up a 19-10 lead by the end of the first quarter.
"We started a little bit slow," Lopez said. "They did a good job on us defensively. They played zone against us, and we just missed a few shots that we usually make. Then (St. Mary's) made a couple tough shots."
After the first quarter, the Warriors clamped down defensively, allowing just three points in the second quarter and just 14 points for the final three.
"After the first quarter we really did a good job defensively," Lopez said. "A lot of it, again, was just our effort. We got a little bit more intense and we made a few shots, sometimes that can help pick up the defensive intensity too."
The Warriors played St. Mary's in Phoenix in December, winning45-35. The Crusaders have gone on a tear since then, however, winning five games in a row. During that span, St. Mary's beat an Ashland team that bested the Warriors by 24 points.
"This was a good win," Lopez said.
Del Norte returns to .500 with the win, improving to 5-5 overall this year. The Warriors will play host Bandon in the championship game. Bandon is currently undefeated.
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .