Updated: December 27, 2019 09:21 PM
Created: December 27, 2019 09:17 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A year ago, the Del Norte High School Knights were one of the Cinderella stories of the state basketball tournament.
The Knights reached the semifinals as a twelve seed. That was their second trip to the final four in three years.
“Like March Madness, it doesn't matter what seed you are,” said Del Norte senior Malik Barton. “It's the team that wants it more is going to win the game."
Barton is one of six seniors returning to the Knights—a four-year letterman that has become one of the elite guards in class 4A.
"Definitely being a leader and being the example. In the past he's had other guys to kind of help him with that leadership role so this year he's trying to take it over,” said head coach Jeron McIntosh.
McIntosh’s first year as head coach lined up with Barton's freshmen year. Barton said he bought in right away when Coach McIntosh took over the reigns.
“All he would tell us is ‘I don't care who you are’ or stuff like that like we're going to get stuff done here. Seniors started caring a lot more so the juniors started to catch on the sophomores caught on and even me so it was like something bigger than ourselves,” Barton said.
With six seniors and a host of young talent, Del Norte is off to a 4-2 start.
With a long season to go, the Knights hope to end up back at The Pit.
"These seniors have been great for the foundation of it and so they started when I started and so it's been a special ride for us. We've made some good runs and hopefully we can finish it out this time,” McIntosh said.
“We're a young team so all we can try and do is build now. Coach isn't worried about wins and losses right now so he's bringing in a new foundation,” Barton said.
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