Del Norte’s Judson Pimcombe. (File Photo/Jose Quezada — HumSport)
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Del Norte High boy’s basketball assumed sole possession of first-place in the Big 5 Conference standings with a 49-35 win over Arcata, Friday night in Crescent City.

Friday’s game pitted the top two teams by record in the Big 5 against one another as both Arcata and Del Norte entered the contest 2-0 in conference play.

Now with a one-game lead over Arcata and more than that over the rest of the Big 5, Del Norte will be the team to beat during the latter stretch of the season.

“It was important for us to get a win at home tonight,” Del Norte head coach Marc Slayton said. “We didn’t want to have to go on the road later in the season and get a win at (Arcata’s) house. That said, this was just game three of eight (in conference).”

Arcata and Del Norte will meet again at the Tiger Den on Feb. 4.

With under 10 second to play in the first half Del Norte’s Kaleb Price came up with a bucket to give the Warriors a 22-20 lead at the break.

Omar Banuelos scored four points in the third quarter and Kobe Mitchell added one of his two 3-pointers on the night to send the home team into the final frame with a 33-28 advantage.

Del Norte’s time-tested man-to-man defense rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter, holding Arcata to seven points while Damian Dowd, who led Del Norte with 10 points, scored six in the final eight minutes to led the Warriors to their 11th consecutive win.

“We had a great defensive effort tonight,” Slayton said. “And likewise Arcata did as well.”

Mitchell finished with nine points in the win, as did Anthony Slayton. Garrett Hall led Arcata with nine points.

Friday’s game was Del Norte’s first at home since Dec. 3. The Warriors will be back on the road Wednesday at McKinleyville (4-10, 0-3) while Arcata (13-7, 2-1) will host Fortuna (8-11, 2-1) on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the Big 5: Eureka 87 McKinleyville 59

Jaeden Thayer scored 18 points, Gary Jimenez added 15 more and the Eureka High boys basketball team emerged victorious in the battle of the last two winless teams in the Big 5, beating McKinleyville 87-59 Friday night at McKinleyville High.

Eureka (10-7, 1-3) outscored McKinleyville 50-29 in the first half. As a team Eureka made 10 3-pointers in the win.

Michael Boatright led all scorers in the loss, dropping 23 points for the Panthers.

Eureka will host South Fork for a non-conference game on Tuesday before jumping back into Big 5 play on Friday with a road game at Del Norte.

McKinleyville will play at Fortuna on Wednesday.

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