The Del Norte girls basketball team’s defense suffocated host Hoopa on Wednesday, and Del Norte pulled away for a 46-18 victory.

Both teams were making their return to the hardwood for the first time in the New Year — despite school still being on break. Del Norte head coach Justin Clifton said the entire game had a little bit of a sluggish feel to it.

“It was just one of those games — it was super slow and the girls were tired,” Clifton said.

Although Clifton thought the team could have shown more intensity, it still managed to lock up Hoopa and keep the host team from putting together any runs offensively.

Del Norte held Hoopa to just three points in the entire first half, including a scoreless second quarter, as the visiting Warriors jumped on top 21-3 by halftime. Del Norte’s lead continued to grow throughout the second half as every available player received lots of playing time.

“It was kind of an ugly game. We were just glad to get out of here without anybody getting hurt,” Clifton said. “Everybody got to play and we put some different things in that we needed to work on because we only have one more practice before league starts.”

Senior Kaleya Sanchez lead all scorers with 16 points for Del Norte, followed closely by Jadence Clifton with 15 points.

Selene Ledezma chipped in with 6 points and Bella Stone scored 5 points for Del Norte.

With the win Del Norte improves to 11-1 at the end of the non-league portion of the regular season. The Warriors head into league play as the second-ranked team in the North Coast Section Division IV, and has cracked the top 50 in the state, coming it at No. 48 according to maxpreps.com.

“I think we are ready for league. Obviously we have a different team — we are missing some girls — but the team is excited,” Clifton said. “We are 11-1 and we have the highest state ranking that we have ever had in girls basketball. We have played some really good teams and we are just some made free throws away from being 12-0.”

Del Norte is scheduled to kick off Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 play on the road on Friday against Fortuna. The Huskies are currently the seventh ranked team in NCS Division IV.

“Fortuna is a good team,” Clifton said. “They have a good post player and a good point guard. They are a good bunch of kids and they are a good team, so we definitely have to bring it. We can’t come out flat. We have to have a lot more intensity than we showed tonight.”

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