Del Norte’s win raises Niclai format questions

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Photos by Michael Zogg/The Del Norte Triplicate – Del Norte’s Kaleya Sanchez moves the ball up court during Wednesday night’s game.

It was a mismatch of sorts in Crescent City on Wednesday night, as the Del Norte Warriors comfortably won their Dick Niclai semifinal game at home to Hoopa Valley by a score of 63-21.


The home team is 676 places ahead of Hoopa in the current MaxPreps state rankings, and it showed in Wednesday’s game.

With the win, Del Norte improved to 20-2 on the season and advanced to Friday night’s tournament championship game against Eureka at Humboldt State.

“The girls played great tonight,” Del Norte head coach Justin Clifton said. “We put in some new stuff that we’ll use on Friday.”

Clifton admitted afterwards that he would like to see a new format for the annual H-DNL postseason tournament.

Especially after a game like Wednesday’s.

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Photos by Michael Zogg/The Del Norte Triplicate

“I think the Niclai should be a lot different,” he said. “There should be more Big 5 teams. Nothing against Hoopa, but Fortuna would have been a lot better game. It makes a lot more sense. 

“They should switch it up. It should be the top six teams in the H-DNL.”

The current format sees the top three teams in each of the Big 5 and Little 4 qualify.

Fortuna, which finished fourth in the Big 5 this year, did not qualify, while the second and third teams in the Little 4 did.

Those team — Hoopa and Ferndale — are each ranked several hundred spots behind the Huskies.

“It is what it is,” Clifton said.

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Photos by Michael Zogg/The Del Norte Triplicate

The high-flying Warriors, who won their first-ever Big 5 title this season and are the No. 2 ranked Division-IV team in the state, will now face league rivals Eureka for a third time, having recently knocked off the Loggers twice in league play.

And Clifton is wary of another matchup with their closest league challengers.

“It’s tough to beat a team three times,” he said.

The coach, however, added that “we just have to stay out of foul trouble, and we’ll be fine.” 

Friday’s championship game will be played as part of a doubleheader with the boys teams, with the girls getting things started at 6 p.m.

The game will be broadcast live on 95.1 and 106.7 FM.

2 replies »

  1. No reason to change what is not broken. Always good to give a longshot team he chance to pull an upset.

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