A big fourth-quarter rally came up just short for the Del Norte girls on Friday night, as they lost the North Coast Section Division-IV championship game to St. Patrick-St. Vincent by a score of 66-62.
The game, which was played at Benicia High, began to slip away from the Warriors in the first half, and they trailed by 15 at the interval.
In the third quarter they battled to keep pace with the Bruins, the No. 2 ranked Division-IV team in the state, and the gap had widened to as many as 16 heading into the fourth.
That’s when things got interesting.
Del Norte senior Kaleya Sanchez led the late surge, scoring 12 of her 32 points in the final period, including nailing all six of her free-throw attempts.
The team’s other senior, Shelby Horner, also stepped up late, nailing a 3-pointer with a minute remaining to narrow the gap to just five.
A basket from sophomore Bella Stone helped narrow the gap further to just four with 30 seconds left, but that unfortunately was as close as the No. 2 seeds would get.
Stone finished with eight points for the Warriors, who lost for the first time in 11 games and just the third time all season.
Sanchez was instrumental in keeping her team in contention early on as well, scoring eight points in the first quarter.
But the Bruins closed out the period on a 5-0 run to open up a six-point lead heading into the second quarter and began to gradually pull away after that.
The higher seeds had the better of exchanges in the second period, outscoring the Warriors 18-9 to stretch the gap to 15 at halftime.
The Del Norte girls, who dropped to 24-3, will now turn their attention to next week’s NorCal tournament.
On Sunday, the Warriors will find out who their opponents are and whether or not they have a home game.
The NorCals open on Tuesday.