The Del Norte High girls varsity basketball team brought home experience from away game losses this week, handing Hoopa a 63-35 defeat at Thunen Gym on Tuesday night. Top scorers in the game were Jadence Clifton with 17 points and Kaleya Sanchez with 16 points.
“We only had one turnover, our lowest for the year,” Clifton said. “They had 21 turnovers.”
Sanchez had 11 rebounds, while Dennise Horton had 10 rebounds.
“Everyone on our team scored,” he said. “It was a fun, positive thing for us.”
The next game kicks off league play for the team, with a game against Fortuna on Jan. 10, starting at 6 p.m.
Last Friday, the team got some experience on the court with two losses in Alhambra.
At the West Coast Jamboree Tournament, Santa Rosa’s Montgomery dealt a 55-45 loss to Del Norte.
On Saturday, Bishop Manogue, of Reno, Nevada, offered a similar experience, beating Del Norte 51-43.
Coach Justin Clifton was not disappointed, however, saying his team was up against Division 2 teams from much larger schools.
“They beat us on the rebounds,” he said. “We were struggling.”
Clifton said that freshmen girls’ play was great and the goal of going to the tournament was to give his team the experience of playing against larger schools.
“Even though we lost, we played really good teams,” he said. “I think we gained a lot of good experience.”
Del Norte ran into a buzzsaw in the first game of the tournament against Bear Creek. The Warriors struggled to get the ball past half-court against a Bear Creek team that forced 26 turnovers throughout the game as it ran away with a 74-50 victory. Bear Creek was also hot from behind the three point line, finishing the game with nine three pointers.
“That is a good basketball team,” Clifton said. “We knew what they were going to do, because we had a good scouting report, but we just could not execute. We had 27 turnovers, and you aren’t going to win many games with 27 turnovers. They were also hitting three pointers, even though we were guarding the three-point line pretty well.”
Bear Creek opened up a huge lead through the first two and a half quarters of the game, but Del Norte put together a nice 24-2 run over the last 10 minutes of play to close the gap to within 24. Although Bear Creek already had a big lead at that point, Clifton said the Bruins kept their starters in for most of the game.
“My hat is off to the girls because we could have laid down and gave up when it was 22-50 at halftime, but they didn’t,” Clifton said. “They kept fighting and kept fighting.”
Clifton said after watching three of the four games in the Amber bracket in Lafayette, he believes Bear Creek is head and shoulders above the rest of the teams competing.
“They are all under 6-foot, they just do not miss,” Clifton said. “It all reality, what killed us is that their press just absolutely destroyed us. I have never had to deal with a situation where we knew exactly what they were going to do, and they didn’t care, and they still did it to us. It was just a learning experience for us.”
The Warriors’ win over Hoopa was the last tune-up for Del Norte before it embarks on Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League play. Del Norte will be back in action next Wednesday, opening Big 5 play on the road in Fortuna.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.