Whittell hopes dashed at 2A state tourney
RENO – An opportunity to win its first state basketball tournament has come and gone, but Whittell High School proved Thursday that it belonged among Nevada’s elite teams.
The Warriors led by five points at intermission, but strayed from their effective patient offense briefly in the third period,allowing The Meadows to win, 58-51, at Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
“We needed to almost play a perfect game and we were for a while. We just let it slip away in the third period,” said Warriors coach Steve Maltase. “But this is a great experience for our team and our program. Hopefully we can continue the success that we had this year.”
The Meadows wiped out a six-point deficit by scoring seven unanswered points for a 39-38 lead late in the third quarter. Luke Forvilly’s twisting layup gave Whittell a 40-39 leading entering the final eight minutes, but the Mustangs used a 7-1 run to take command.
Mustangs first-year coach Greg Goorjian was relieved to escape with the win, especially since his team beat Whittell by 19 points in December.
“It was a close game and a big win, because that’s a tough team to play against, as Tonopah knows,” said Goorjian. “Whittell was much better. They handled our press, which they weren’t able to do three months ago. They were patient with our press, and it didn’t take them out of what they were trying to do offensively.”
Joel Warnick, one of three Whittell starting seniors playing in their first state tournament game, was satisfied with how the team represented the school.
“It (hurts) that we lost, but I think we did good because when we played them the first time in Las Vegas, they pretty much kicked our butt,” said Warnick, who scored six points before fouling out. “So to come here and play them that good and give them a run for their money, it felt good.”
Whittell, 13-14, can add a third-place trophy to the school collection by beating Tonopah on Friday at 6:10 p.m. at Sparks High. The Warriors defeated Tonopah 49-47 for the Northern Nevada 2A Division Championship last Saturday.
For more details, turn to the Tribune’s sports section.
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