In a game that was far from a masterpiece, the Del Norte varsity boys basketball team kept its undefeated Big Five Conference record intact and stayed one full game in front of the Arcata Tigers in the conference standings with a 54-47 victory over the Eureka Loggers at Thunen Gymnasium Friday evening.
With the offense struggling to find a rhythm, the Warriors controlled the game at the defensive end of the floor, limiting the Loggers to just two points in the opening quarter, those coming via free throws. Adding insult to injury, literally, point guard Damian Dowd suffered an ankle injury early in the game and was relegated to assistant coach for the remainder of the evening.
Eventually the Warrior offense began to slowly find itself, largely due to the contributions of senior Anthony Slayton, who scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, as the Warriors extended what had been a slim 8-2 lead after one quarter to 29-18 at intermission.
Following the halftime break, the Warriors were able to continue the momentum built with a 21-point second quarter, as a Judson Pincombe 3 point play gave the home team its biggest lead of the contest at 41-24 with 2:27 left in the third quarter. Just as had been the case for most of the evening though, the Loggers had an answer, this one in the form of a 6-1 run that cut the Warrior lead down to 42-31 with still 6:21 remaining in the contest.
Although the Warriors were able to maintain their cushion on the scoreboard, the feisty Loggers squad refused to go away, cutting the lead to single digits and ultimately forcing the Warriors to ice the game with conversions from the free throw line.
The Warriors hit the road Tuesday when they travel to Eureka to take on the St Bernard’s Crusaders in a non-conference game at St Bernard’s High School. The Warriors then return home Thursday when they will play host to the Fortuna Huskies in Big Five Conference action at Thunen Gymnasium on what will also be homecoming night.