The Del Norte boys basketball team struggled to find the hoop on Wednesday in Fortuna in its first Humboldt-Del Norte game of the season. The Warriors missed lots of open looks throughout the game, while it seemed that the Huskies couldn’t miss at times as Fortuna rolled to a big 65-39 victory over Del Norte.
“They just came out and jumped on us from the start,” said Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez. “We came out a little bit flat, and they came out on fire. They outworked us tonight too. We played a little bit better in the second half, but we were just flat in the first half. They played well though. Give them credit. They took it to us.”
Del Norte started off the game with a basket and a pair of free throws in its first two possessions, but the Warriors offense dropped off from there.
The Warriors managed to get open looks, including several open layups, but consistently struggled to convert high-percentage opportunities into points.
“We just couldn’t throw it into the ocean,” Lopez said. “We got good shots, they just wouldn’t go in.”
Meanwhile, Fortuna junior Drew Gillette went off early in the game and carried the Huskies to a big lead. Gillette scored all 26 of his points before halftime, including seven three pointers as Fortuna jumped out a a 37-16 lead at halftime.
“We gave up too many open threes early, and then (Gillette) made some really tough ones, especially going to the basket,” Lopez said. “It seemed like we kind of let him get going to start and he just got into a rhythm.”
Del Norte turned things around a little bit defensively in the second half and briefly closed the Huskies’ lead to within 13 thanks to five unanswered points from senior Mason Mitchell to start the fourth quarter, but Fortuna got a few quick buckets of its own to push its lead back above 20 points.
With the loss, Del Norte falls to 7-7 overall this season and drops to 0-1 in Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 games.
The Warriors will be back in action on Friday, playing in Thunen Gymnasium for the first time this season against three-time defending league champion Arcata. Friday night’s game will also be homecoming for the Warriors, with the boys game scheduled to tip off at about 7:30 p.m., following the girls game.