DEL NORTE — Del Norte boys basketball stepped up for their final game in the confines of the Tiger Fieldhouse. Del Norte (2-4) took down Sierra Grande (1-5) in a 57-42 victory.
Sierra Grande entered Friday night’s tilt on a three-game downer, the Panther’s last win came in the R.L. Ballard Tournament in Springfield. Sierra Grande downed South Baca for their first win of the season.
Del Norte has also been facing some struggles in the early going. The Tigers opened the season dropping three straight. Del Norte’s first win of the year came over Swink in the La Junta Holiday Shootout last weekend.
Del Norte heated up early in Friday’s non-league contest. Shooting an unofficial 53 percent from the field the Tigers doubled up on Sierra Grande to take a 16-8 lead after one. Though their shooting percentage cooled to 22 percent in the second quarter, Kyle Dahl and Cole Jones spurred the Tigers on, combining for 8 points in the second quarter.
Del Norte was able to keep Sierra Grande at bay because the Panthers saw their own rough patch in the second frame. As a team in the second quarter, the Panthers went 5 of 10 from the charity stripe. Del Norte’s 8 point advantage would survive to the second half, Tigers leading 28-20.
In the third quarter, Del Norte junior Luke Cestone found his legs. After shooting 25 percent for 4 points int he first half, Cestone would add 19 points in the second half to lead all Del Norte shooters at 23 points in the win. Cestone was a big part of the reason why Del Norte was able to outscore the Panthers down the stretch.
For Sierra Grande, the scoring title went to sophomore Isiah Chairez who according to preliminary stats went 50 percent from the field for 16 points.
Sierra Grande will go to the break on a down note. The Panthers will return to the court Jan. 11th for a road meeting with Primero.
The win marks Del Norte’s second of the season. When Del Norte returns it will be in a completed new school. The Tigers won’t be immediately returning home after the break, however. The Del Norte boys will build anticipation for their homecoming with road meetings against Sangre de Cristo on Jan. 11th and Crested Butte on the 17th before finally getting their chance to play in the new gym on January 18th when they welcome their first home opponent of the new year Center.