Boys beat previously undefeated Bandon 40-36 for Bandon Tournament championship
The Del Norte boys basketball team captured its first tournament championship on Saturday. The Warriors got off to a quick start and held on for a 40-36 victory over host Bandon in the championship game.
"I was just proud of my team," said head coach Blaine Lopez. "I thought we were pretty resilient. We came out a little bit flat against St. Mary's in the first game. We beat St. Mary's in the second week of December and they hadn't lost since, so to battle back after they jumped on us like that was really good.
"We missed so many easy shots early but we fought through it. Then Bandon hadn't lost yet, so that was a good win for us. Even in the stretches that I didn't think we played very well, I thought we played hard."
The Warriors got off to a strong start in the title game against Bandon, leading by eight points at halftime. In the second half, Bandon was able to make a push.
"We came out and played pretty well early, then they zoned us and we kind of got caught watching a little bit against the zone, so we didn't play as well in the second half," Lopez said. "It was good for us to see some zone though, because we haven't seen a lot of zone this year."
The Warriors were also able to negate Bandon's size advantage down low, staying about even on the boards.
"We at least held our own and maybe came out a little bit ahead on the boards," Lopez said. "Their big kids weren't as athletic as some of the big kids we are going to see in the league, but they were still big strong kids. It was a good sign to be able to rebound against them. We were just boxing out and making them go through us, then we just want to out-scrap you."
Del Norte will need to continue that effort as it heads into Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 league play. The Bandon Tournament was the team's last of the season. It boosted the Warriors' record to 6-5 overall. Del Norte will play in Arcata on Thursday to begin league competition.
Reach Michael Zogg at email@example.com.