Hoopa Defeats McKinleyville

Hoopa Warrior Dakota Mosier, center left, pushed the ball towards the basket as a defending McKinleyville Panther stumbled in his path during the first game of the season on Tuesday, November 26. / Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

The Hoopa Valley Warriors faced off against the McKinleyville Panthers on Tuesday, November 26, in the first game – and their first win – of the 2013-2014 Basketball season.

Boyd Ferris, Hoopa varsity basketball assistant coach, said before the game, “They’re the bigger school; they’ve got that height but we have more heart.”

The Warriors had more than heart; they had five returning starters – Logan Ferris, Tahn Blake, Tule O’Rourke, Milton Stewart, and Dakota Mosier – who helped send Hoopa to the Section V playoffs last season.

“We’re looking for them to set the tempo and bring their knowledge for the underclassmen,” Boyd Ferris said.

And, that’s what they did as soon as the game started.

Mosier made the first basket seconds into the game, quickly followed by a basket from McKinleyville that tied the game 2-2.

A foul sent Stewart to the free throw line, where he sank one then missed one, and followed up with a two-pointer moments later, putting Hoopa ahead 5-2.

The Panthers managed to score four more points in the game’s first quarter, but they fell behind the Warriors when Mosier sank a two-pointer, Stewart sank a free throw, and Blake threw a three-pointer, and two more shots.

Blake’s last two-pointer went onto the basket with zero seconds left on the clock, putting the Warriors ahead 15-6 at the end of the first quarter.

McKinleyville put another two points onto the board just after the start of the second quarter, and Blake followed up with a three-pointer and a two-pointer for Hoopa, putting the score at 21-8.

The Panthers called a time out with 5:08 left on the clock, and came back supercharged for the rest of the second quarter.

McKinleyville scored basket after basket, seemingly shutting Hoopa down.

Except for a free throw from Adrian Rodriquez and another from Stewart, the Warriors couldn’t score another basket for the rest of the second quarter, and went into half-time with the score tied at 23-23.

The Warriors came back from half-time determined to prevent a repeat of the Panther’s second quarter blitz.

Blake said, “Let’s go. Let’s do this.”

The Warriors pulled ahead on the score board, with  three leaping two-pointers from Stewart, two layups from Mosier, one from Logan Ferris, and a crowd-pleasing long-distance three-pointer from Brandon Rakestraw with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Panthers scored four two-pointers of their own, but fell behind by six points as the third quarter ended with Hoopa in the lead 37-31.

McKinleyville came back onto the court in the third quarter and quickly scored. Both teams started to play so hard that it almost looked like they were brawling over the ball.

Warrior Tule O’Rourke was fouled twice and sank three out of four free throws, before snatching the ball and running the full length of the court to sink a layup.

Moments later, with around 5:30 left on the clock, the scoreboard crashed. Game officials and scorers spent a few minutes resetting the scoreboard.

People in the Hoopa Warrior’s hometown crowd started to stamp their feet, clap their hands, and shout their team’s name when the game restarted.

Warrior Norvin Hostler sank a shot from inside, followed by a layup and then a three-pointer from Stewart.

The Panthers upped the pressure with two quick three-pointers of their own, one right after the other.

For the next few minutes there were multiple fouls on both sides, with neither side able to sink anything but free throws until McKinleyville scored a basket, ending the game with a 52-49 victory for Hoopa.

Warrior Adrian Rodriquez said, “It really started off the season right. Beating a Big Five team is a hard challenge.”

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