The Del Norte varsity boys’ basketball team took a break from Big Five Conference play Tuesday evening, traveling to Eureka to take on the St Bernard’s Crusaders, leaders of the Little Four Conference, at St Bernard’s High School.
Although the Warriors came away with a 57-45 victory, it wasn’t as comfortable as the final margin may indicate, as the Warriors withstood a fourth quarter surge that saw the Crusaders cut what had been an 18-point lead after three quarters down to single digits at the three minute mark of final quarter before ultimately holding on down the stretch for the victory.
Leading by eight at halftime, the Warriors came out of the locker room with a definite sense of purpose to open the second half, putting the clamps on the Crusaders at the defensive end of the court, while also beginning to pull away offensively. The Warriors eventually stretched what had been a six-point advantage to as many as 19 at 44-25 late in the third quarter, as the inside-outside trio of Kaleb Price, Omar Banuelos and Judson Pincombe began to assert themselves.
Price led the Warriors with a team-high 16 points, while Banuelos and Pincombe added 11 apiece, as the Warriors were seemingly in control with an 18-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.
However, nobody told the Crusaders the visiting team was in control, as the home team began chipping away in the early stages of the fourth quarter and kept that momentum during a five-minute stretch that saw what had been a near 20-point advantage cut to seven with three minutes remaining in the contest.
The Crusaders would get no closer than seven though, as timely free throws from guards Damian Dowd and Kobe Mitchell extended the advantage back to double figures down the stretch and preserved the Warrior victory.