Del Norte honors seniors in season finale, a 55-44 loss against Fortuna in Thunen Gymnasium

The Del Norte girls basketball team spent most of the game trailing Fortuna on Thursday in Thunen Gymnasium. Every time the Huskies looked poised to put the game away, the Warriors managed to go on a run and keep it close on senior night.

In the end, Fortuna was too strong for Del Norte, earning a 55-44 victory in the regular season finale for both teams.

The Huskies rode the hot hand of junior Sophie Northern, who scorched the Warriors for 25 points, including four three-pointers.

"She killed us," said head coach Jeff Cook. "Whenever we didn't have (Kayla) Costello on her, she scored."

Del Norte honored its four seniors prior to tip-off. Senior forwards Kaitlyn Clemann and Ashton Smedley and guards Panhia Yang and Ericka Alcala were also all in the starting lineup.

"Three of the four seniors came from volleyball, so that is a close-knit group," Cook said. "I would say they were pretty good leaders out there."

Alcala got the Warriors going early. She hit a three-pointer just over a minute into the game to give Del Norte its only lead of the night at 3-2. She hit another three a minute later for six of the Warriors' nine first-quarter points.

Fortuna was able to build its lead to 14 points with a minute remaining in the first half.

That is when Yang brought Del Norte back. She hit a three-pointer and a long two to cut the halftime deficit to 27-18. She also got the Warriors moving in the second half, hitting two of three free throws in the first possession of the half to pull within seven points.

The game stayed within single digits until the final few minutes.

"It was a good last game," Cook said. "We won the third quarter. I told them that was the most important quarter and we came out strong. Everyone that played, played hard."

With the loss, Del Norte falls to 9-13 overall and 0-8 in the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5.

Although the HDN season didn't turn out the way the Warriors would have liked, with seven girls coming back next year, Cook believes Del Norte has a promising future.

"The juniors and one sophomore got a lot of experience this year, so looking forward, that should help," Cook said. "Now I have a full year in. I have a lot to learn still. I didn't have last summer to do anything this year. Most of these girls just picked up the ball in November. I am just looking forward to next year."

This year was a good learning experience, though."

Reach Michael Zogg at