SANFORD — The Southern Peaks league lead came down to the Saturday meeting between Del Norte and Sanford. Sanford would edge Del Norte at home by a score of 39-30.
Before meeting Sanford, Del Norte (12-7) had built their longest scoring streak of the season with four in a row. Sanford meanwhile you’d have to track back to their Jan. 19th home meeting with Sargent (14-5) to find their last loss.
When things got underway Del Norte head coach Mike Glover wasn’t interested in seeing Sanford’s Jakob Peterson bury three-pointers, and by extension, his Tigers. Coach Glover employed a zone-man hybrid making sure Peterson had someone in his hip pocket all night long. The approach worked, Peterson was kept in check for just four points.
With Sanford’s sniper nullified the Tigers were able to force a close range brand of basketball on Sanford. Tiger Kade Glover was red hot early going 5-for-5 to post 13 of the Tiger’s 15 first quarter points giving Del Norte a 15-12 lead. Despite falling silent on his next 11 attempts, Glover still led Del Norte in scoring.
A low scoring second quarter saw both teams combine for eight points to go to the break with Del Norte leading 19-16. Del Norte struggled to score points once Glover fell silent while Sanford adjusted to the defense nicely. Chase Holman put up four points in the third quarter, back to back. The first bucket gave Sanford the lead the second extended it to 24-21. Thanks to some good hustle from Niclo Cisneros Del Norte was able to reclaim the lead to enter the final frame leading 27-26.
A 6-2 run to start the final quarter would give Sanford one final lead in the contest. The home team would pace Del Norte all the way to the finale to claim a first round bye for the district tournament. Thomas Faucette led all Sanford scorers with 10 points.
Sanford will skip round one and instead face the winner of Center and South Park on Thursday at Adams State. Del Norte will host Custer County Tuesday night, the winner moving on to face the winner of Sargent and Crested Butte.