The Del Norte boys basketball team let a late lead slip away in the closing minutes of an exciting 54-51 overtime loss against Hoopa.
"It was kind of what we expected," said Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez. "They get after it. They played hard and scrapped and it was a competitive game."
The Warriors, who started the game on a cold shooting streak, found their stroke in the fourth quarter, draining four three-pointers to tie the game at 45 at the end of regulation.
In the extra period Del Norte managed to get out to a three point lead and had two chances to add to it. Instead, Hoopa scored on two straight possessions to regain the lead and earn the victory.
"We had several chances to win it, we just could not hit that big shot or get that big stop when we needed it," Lopez said. "If we make even one of those baskets, it would have been tough for them to catch up."
The loss drops Del Norte to7-6 overall this season. Since Hoopa is a non-league opponent, however, the Warriors have said all week that their focus is on Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 favorite Fortuna, who will visit Thunen Gymnasium tonight.
"They are very good. They are as good as any team we have had in the league in a while," Lopez said. "They play hard and they are well coached. We are going to have to play extremely well just to have a chance. If we don't play
really hard, it is going to be a long night."
The Huskies are off to a 14-2 start to the season and are a perfect 3-0 in HDN Big 5 play. They are currently on a 5-game winning streak and have beaten Arcata, McKinleyville and Eureka by 20, 20 and 30 points respectively.
The Warriors will be playing in just their second home game of the season. The first time Del Norte played in Thunen Gym they upset Eureka 53-33. Lopez hopes that the home court can help give the Warriors an edge, though he acknowledged that it will still be an uphill battle.
"It hasn't mattered where Fortuna has played people recently," Lopez said. "Whether it is at home or on the road, they have pretty much drilled everybody."
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .