The 2020 calendar year has not exactly been kind to the Del Norte girls’ varsity basketball team, specifically as it relates to the win column, as the Warriors suffered their third loss in four games to open the new year, the latest coming in a 62-56 loss to the Eureka Loggers Tuesday evening at Thunen Gymnasium in what was the Big Five Conference opener for both teams.
The contest began as one that would resemble a league opener, with nerves telling the tale early resulting in a less than aesthetically pleasing opening minutes. Once the two teams began to find their rhythm though, things got going, as the Loggers jumped out to an early lead only to see the Warriors close the gap and eventually take a 16-13 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
That advantage didn’t last long though, as the Loggers began taking utilizing their decided advantage on the interior, with Carly Boynton and Malia Guilbert patrolling the paint and getting quality looks at the basket seemingly on every possession. When it wasn’t the interior duo, it was guards McKenna Beach and Sophia Chalmers creating havoc on the Warrior guards and hitting timely shots from the perimeter themselves.
The Warriors didn’t go away though, as junior guard Jadence Clifton took it upon herself to keep the home team in the game, going on a 5-0 run her own self to cut what had been a 34-28 lead a minute into the third quarter to a 34-33 Loggers lead with 6:08 remaining in the period.
That momentum would be short lived though, as the Loggers continued to get the ball inside to Guilbert or Boynton for first, second and sometimes third looks at the basket, while the Logger guards were largely the beneficiaries of the multiple offensive looks, putting the Warrior defense in scramble mode. The home team was able to continue to keep themselves within striking distance throughout most of the evening by forcing the Loggers to turn the ball over and turning those miscues into transition opportunities. The Warriors forced a total of 18 Loggers turnovers in the contest, while the Warriors committed 12.
The contest was also marred, or highlighted depending on perspective, by a number of whistles which resulted in an inordinate amount of free throw attempts for both teams. The Warriors and Loggers combined for 79 attempts from the charity stripe on the evening, with the home team connecting on just 26-0f-39 from the line.
Clifton led the Warriors with a game-high 31 points, as the Warriors fell to 9-6 overall and 0-1 in conference play.