The Del Norte boys basketball team won its first tournament championship of the season on Saturday as it cruised to a 54-27 victory over St. Bernard’s in the finals to win the Cloverdale Tournament.

Del Norte head coach Blaine Lopez said the Crusaders may have been a little bit worn out at the start of the game on Saturday after St. Bernard’s pulled off an exciting overtime victory over host Cloverdale in the other semifinal matchup.

The Warriors jumped out to a 17-10 lead at halftime, which grew to a 14-point Del Norte advantage at halftime and continued to grow until the final buzzer.

“That was probably the best that we played all weekend,” Lopez said. “In the championship game we were really, really good defensively. The guys did a good job of executing the game plan. Offensively we moved the ball well and took good shots. We actually missed quite a few easy shots still. By far it was the best we have played.”

By the end of the tournament, the Warriors improved to 5-1 overall to start the 2018–19 season.

Although the tournament in Cloverdale was the second of the year for Del Norte, it was the first time that the Warriors have had a full roster after six teams joined the team on Monday after the football season came to a close.

While it was nice to have the football players back in their basketball jerseys, Lopez said the players are still in a bit of a transition after just three basketball practices.

“Football shape and basketball shape are definitely two different things. That is normal, so we will definitely have to get our legs under us,” Lopez said. “Overall I am pretty happy, though, especially after the third game. We have a long ways to go, but at least we have a solid building block there. We just have to continue to improve and just see what happens.”

Lopez said he expects the team to be running a little bit more this week after he had to do a bit of a basketball crash course last week to get the new players up to speed.

“Last week was not physically as demanding because mentally we had to get some things taken care of,” Lopez said. “This week is going to be a little bit more physically demanding, then next week we will really have to get after it and try to take care of some things.”

Although the Warriors spent most of last week going over basic plays, Lopez said there is still a lot to learn. In addition to more running this week, the Warriors will also work on expanding their repertoire in practice as they prepare for the Anderson Tournament starting up on Thursday.

“We are going to try to add a few more things this week and try to work on them over the weekend,” Lopez said. “We were very limited in what we could do this weekend both offensively and defensively just from lack of practice time. So hopefully we will get a few more things in on both sides.”

Del Norte is scheduled to open play in Anderson Thursday at 5 p.m. against Central Valley.

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