The Del Norte girls basketball team turned a competitive game early into a comfortable victory on Tuesday as the Warrirs came home from Grants Pass, Oregon with a 51-34 win over Hidden Valley.
“We just beat a good ball club,” said Del Norte head coach Justin Clifton. “This was the best team that we have played so far. I think they are better than Crater because they are a lot more versatile. Hidden Valley had some very good guards to go with some good posts. They just had matchup problems when it came down to it. We have four girls that can be our main scorers. There are a lot of matchup problems and we spread out our offense quite a bit, so there is nowhere to help.”
The main beneficiary on Tuesday was senior Kaleya Sanchez, who continued her hot start to the season with a game-high 22 points to go along with what Clifton described as “a ton of rebounds.”
“(Hidden Valley) was so worried about Jadence (Clifton), because we played this team a lot over the summer, that they were guarding her for the full court,” Clifton said. “They didn’t have any idea who Kaleya Sanchez is, and we just isolated Kaleya on the block. They put a big girl on her we would isolate her up top and she would blow by her.”
Sophomore point guard Bella Stone added nine points for the Warriors, and Clifton said she did a good job of running the offense.
Despite serving as a decoy and bearing the brunt of the Hidden Valley defense, sophomore Jadence Clifton finished the game with eight points. Senior Dennise Horton also added eight points, while hounding one of Hidden Valley’s top scorers throughout the night on the other end.
“They had a girl who was all of six foot, and Dennise Horton did a phenomenal job on her,” Clifton said. “She has been playing good defense all season. Big Mac (Maykala) Jackson also came in and took a charge. She had to come in and guard their big girl and she did just fine on too.”
Although the Warriors ended up with a comfortable 17-point road win, Clifton said the game was close for most of the first half.
“It was a very fun game,” Clifton said. “It was close neck and neck until we were able to pull away a little bit at the end of the first half. Then we were able to pull away a little bit more in the third quarter. In Oregon there isn’t any shot clock, so after we got a big lead we just kind of iced the clock.”
The Warriors also got every available player on its roster into the game in Grants Pass.
“The bench played great again. The whole bench got to play, and the girls were pumped,” Clifton said. “Danny (Daniela Zepeda) came in and I asked her to guard their best shooter, and I want to say she held her to six points —she is used to getting over 20. The Lenover twins both got in the game and played well too; Ashley had a great assist.”
With the win, Del Norte improves to 4-0 on the season. Although Clifton said he thinks Hidden Valley was the team’s toughest test so far this season, the Warriors are in for another challenging opponent today. Del Norte is scheduled to kick off the Windsor Tournament today against Montgomery.
Del Norte ran into the Vikings in the Amber Bracket of last year’s West Coast Jamboree and fell 55-45.
“We have a long stretch of tough games, starting with Montgomery coming up on Thursday, and that is a great team,” Clifton said. “We will have our hands full there, but the bottom line is we are 4-0.”
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .