Ladies split weekend
The girls turned in mixed results against Sparks and Silver Stage last weekend. On Friday, the Warriors struggled in the fourth quarter and Sparks took advantage for a 40-34 win at Whittell. On Saturday, the girls redeemed the weekend with a 28-18 win in Silver Stage.
It started at home against a powerhouse Sparks program. The Warriors were up 19-16 at halftime, and the girls seemed to have the game on lock. Their turnovers were down, to four to be exact, and they held a 26-23 edge going into the fourth.
The Warriors were cruising, but with four minutes to go they hit a bump in the road. Their point, Emily Harris, fouled out, and Sparks seized the opportunity to surge back.
"We had them beat the whole game, and the wheels kind of fell off in the fourth," coach Tom Esposito said. "After Emily fouled out with four minutes left we had seven turnovers, which probably cost us the game."
Sparks came from behind to outscore Whittell 17-8 in the last quarter.
Amanda Harris led the Warriors with 13, Emily Harris added seven and Tori Jimenez put up six.
The girls erased Friday's bittersweet fourth, with a 28-18 win against Silver Stage on Saturday.
Whittell jumped out to a 15-7 lead at halftime and maintained about a 10-point lead throughout the game.
Emily turned in 12 points, and Amanda had six.
"It wasn't a great shooting night, we only score 28, but we regrouped, eliminated some mistakes and were able to win that game," Esposito said.
The girls are 8-7 overall and 1-0 in league.
Boys make strides
On the surface it may seem like a bad weekend for the Warriors, but there is a silver lining to the boys' two losses.
All season Coach Phil Bryant has expressed quality of play over wins and losses, and last weekend quality ball is exactly what Whittell played. The boys lost at Truckee 50-44 Friday, and lost to Sparks 57-49 Saturday, but both games were closer. -
"The two losses may appear bad in the win-loss column, but what the average fan may not see is the fact that we are getting better," Bryant said. "Last year, we lost to those schools by huge margins. In fact, the halftime score with Sparks last year was 45-4."
This year, the boys were in both these games until the final moments.
The Warriors were dramatically undersized against the Truckee starting lineup, but still managed to jump out to a 23-18 lead at halftime.
They were able to slow the game down and keep a win within reach, but couldn't manage to hang on against Truckee's big inside game of David Burnham and Adam Morgan.
Austin Neil led the boys with 20 points, and was the only Warrior in double figures. -
"I have to compliment the Truckee coaches and players for their sportsmanship and hard play throughout the game," Bryant said. "I hope they walked away with the same kind of respect for us."
The Sparks game on Saturday can be summed up in one word - physical.
Spark was bigger and played an aggressive game.
"I thought we reacted to the physical play pretty well. It was evident that they could score inside almost whenever they wanted. Their leading scorer didn't score against us and that may have been what caused some frustration on his part," Bryant said.
Neil and Garrett Bronken combined for 27 points, but the Warriors had limited scoring from the rest of the team.
And at the end of the weekend, it was free throws, not physical play, that cost the Warriors both games. The Warriors were 7-for-12 against Truckee and missed the front end of three one and ones. Against Sparks they went 12-for-25.
"As I said earlier in the season, these two games were the yardstick for us to see how far we have come since day one," Bryant said. "We still have Incline and South Tahoe ahead of us and they are the strongest two teams in the league right now."
If last weekend was the yardstick, the Warriors have covered some good ground so far this season.
Freshman point guard Palmer Chaplin continues to get better, and Bronken has turned into a reliable and steady combo guard. Austin Neil has also stepped up and shown maturity on the court this season, and for Bryant, that's the best improvement one of his players can show.
The boys are 10-6 overall and 0-3 in league.