After seeing its Big Five Conference season come to an end just 24 hours earlier, the Del Norte varsity girls’ basketball team saw its 2019-20 regular season come to an end with a 65-55 loss to the Arcata Tigers at Thunen Gymnasium Saturday evening.
At the outset of the contest, it appeared as if both teams had indeed played a game 24 hours earlier, as, although the pace was frenetic, the execution was from from pristine in the opening minutes, as the Warriors turned the ball over on four of their first five possessions, but were able to stay within range as the Tigers were unable to convert off of those miscues.
Once the adrenaline slowed, the two teams were able to maintain their up tempo styles, while converting opportunities created by their respective defenses into transition baskets at the offensive end of the court. The Tigers began to pull away in the latter stages of the second quarter, going on a 12-2 run to extend what had been a 19-18 lead to 31-20 at intermission.
Although most of the statistics across the board were a virtual wash in the opening half, the Tigers connected on six 3-point field goals in the first two quarters, while Kirsten Brous had the Warriors lone make from behind the arc in the half. Brous scored five of her seven points in the opening quarter, including a 3-point field goal.
The Tigers carried their momentum into the second half, building a 44-30 lead early in the third quarter to seemingly take control of the game. However, the Warriors were not willing to go away easily, as three consecutive steals, two from Olivia Stilwell and one from Jadence Clifton, were turned into layups, as the Warriors quickly cut the 14-point deficit in half. The home team wasn’t done, as the Warriors appeared to suddenly find their intensity and, in the process, got the Thunen Gymnasium crowd into the game for the first time all evening.
When all was said and done, the Warriors scored 12 consecutive points to cut the Tigers lead down to one possession at 44-42 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, forcing an Arcata timeout in an attempt to slow the onslaught.
Mission accomplished, as the Tigers regained control of the game in very short order following the stoppage, scoring eight consecutive points of their own over the final two minutes of the period to take a 52-42 lead into the final quarter.
The Warriors got no closer than eight points during any part of the final period, as the Tigers controlled the backboards and forced the home team into scramble mode defensively for virtually the entire fourth quarter to preserve the victory, the first for the Tigers over the Warriors on the season after Del Norte won the two regular season meetings between the two schools.
Clifton had a game-high 29 points for the Warriors in the loss. Olivia Stilwell scored nine points, six of those during the third quarter spurt that got the home team within one possession late in the third quarter. Lily Wilson added all four of her points during the same third quarter surge.