The Hoopa Valley boys were unable to keep up with the No. 1 ranked Division-V team in the state on Wednesday, falling 82-58 to Stuart Hall in an NCS playoff game at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco.
Foul calls didn’t help matters for the Warriors, who saw their two leading scorers — George Navarro and Wade Nixon — foul out early in the second half.
“I didn’t think he had four fouls,” Hoopa head coach Tyler Mitchell said of Navarro, who fouled out on the opening play of the third quarter, on a foul that the coach said should have been called on his teammate Sonny Jarnaghan.
For the game, Stuart Hall had 39 free-throw attempts, making good on just 18 of them, while Hoopa had just 18 attempts, making good on 15.
It was the second straight playoff game in the Bay Area where the foul count was heavily in the Warriors’ opponents’ favor.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Mitchell said.
The coach, however, didn’t blame the loss entirely on the foul calls.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” he said. “Stuart Hall can shoot the ball very well.
“They’re the No. 1 ranked team for a reason. They’re solid and they have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball. But at the same time the calls were in their favor. But they’re a solid team.”
The Knights hit seven 3-pointers in the opening half, and improved to 27-4 with the win.
They will play for the NCS championship this weekend.
The Warriors were led offensively by Nixon, who scored 14 points before fouling out, while Navarro finished with 11 points.
Jarnaghan and Dennis Young each finished with eight points.
The Warriors will try to bounce back in next week’s NorCal tournament.
“We’ve still got life. We’re not done yet,” Mitchell said. “We’ll go back, we’ll work hard and learn from our loss. You always learn more from a loss than any win. I still think we haven’t peaked yet.”
The Hoopa boys will learn their NorCal opponent on Sunday.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.