The Del Norte girls basketball team just couldn’t seem to find the hoop in Eureka on Friday. Although the Warriors defense held the Loggers to their second lowest scoring output of the season, Del Norte had its lowest score of the season by 16 points, falling 35-27 in Eureka. The Loggers’ win gives Eureka the second spot in the final Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 regular season standings, and also means the first round Niclai Tournament game between the Warriors and Loggers will be played in Eureka.

Both teams started off slowly offensively, with Del Norte freshman Jadence Clifton’s pull up jumper in the lane four minutes into the game the first points for either team. Del Norte jumped out to a 5-0 lead midway through the first quarter, but Eureka answered with an 8-0 run to get out in front and the Warriors were never able to retake the lead.

The Warriors struggled to hit shots all night long. Although Del Norte was able to move the ball for several open three-pointers and put up lots of shots from behind the three-point arc throughout the game, Warrior senior Payten Healy’s three-pointer with a minute to play in the third quarter was the only made three-pointer of the game.

Del Norte also missed several shots in the lane, and a couple uncontested layups.

While Del Norte struggle to score, its defense was able to keep it within striking distance throughout the game. The Warriors scored just seven points in the first quarter but trailed just 8-7 heading into the second quarter. Del Norte managed just five points in the second quarter but trailed by just two at halftime.

Del Norte sophomore Bella Stone made her return to the lineup midway through the first quarter and provided a big lift for the Warriors as the first player off the bench. Stone played extensive minutes, especially in the second half, as three of Del Norte’s starters struggled with foul trouble throughout the second half. Stone had been sidelined since suffering a concussion in the first meeting with Arcata back on Jan. 12.

Del Norte junior forward Dennise Horton ended up with a team-high 10 points for the Warriors.

With the loss, Del Norte wraps up the regular season with a 14-8 overall record and a 5-3 mark in HDN Big 5 play. The loss drops the Warriors into third place in the final league standings. The Loggers jumped into the second spot in the league standings, which means Del Norte will be back in Eureka on Tuesday for the first round of the Dick Niclai Tournament scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

The winner of Tuesday’s game will be back in Eureka on Thursday at St. Bernard’s, taking on the Humboldt-Del Norte Little 4 champion Crusaders for a spot in Friday’s championship game at Humboldt State University.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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