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Basketball team boasts big senior roster

Brian Jones, left, and Jake Summers work the 3-point line during a Whittell High
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practice on Saturday morning in Zephyr Cove. Whittell opens its season on Tuesday|Dan Thrift|.

The football team, successful as it may have been, didn’t do the basketball team any favors.

The basketball team started tryouts last Monday and the large core of seniors, most all of whom played football, are feeling lingering effects of a successful, if not equally punishing, fall season.



But for the most part, the team is humming under new coach Brian Mehrer, who also is the school’s athletics director.

“We’re not going to be a real quick team,” Mehrer said after surveying his Warrior varsity after the first few days of practice last week. “But I think fundamentally we’re going to be fine. We’re probably going to rely on a slower pace type of game.”




The varsity is a bit bigger than were the freshmen Mehrer is used to coaching at Douglas, and they also haven’t shown him the speed just yet.

But the team will probably develop quickly. It may already have a toehold on the competition with seniors filling most of the team’s starting positions. That may be a big factor further down the road.

“The kids are starting to respond. We’re running offense and defense now. Every night we’re looking better,” Mehrer said.

Seniors Jake Summer and Brian Jones headline the list of returners. Seniors Nick Lowe, Joe Ilk, Matt Johnson and Alex Swearingen round out the core of football players who will be bouncing up and down the court.

From the cross country team are Kyle Olsen, a lefty, and the Shapiro brothers, Danny and Chris, a junior and sophomore, respectively.

Tyson Frederick also is a slam dunk, but he’s out with infectious mononucleosis, or “mono,” and isn’t expected back soon.

Junior Ryan Greenstein is back in action and showing promise.

“This is my love right here,” Greenstein said last week, motioning to the court, and later pointing to the small, colorful basketball tattooed on his left calf. “I think we’ll do good this year.”

The team is missing two of its starters from last year. Nestor Flores, who played point guard in 2000 — when the team placed third in state — is playing club soccer in Sacramento this year and won’t play basketball. Star post player Ryan Salomon graduated.

The team has its share of injuries as well. Swearingen just came off the disabled list after dislocating his shoulder for the second time late in the football season. Ilk, a likely candidate to play down low and inside because of his size, dislocated his shoulder numerous times in the past 18 months and, like Swearingen, will likely consider surgery as an option in the future.

Danny Shapiro turned his ankle the first day of practice, but isn’t expected to be out long.

Coach Mehrer brought up two players from JV to fill in, and they are showing lots of promise.

Overall, Mehrer is pleased with his lineup, and is eager to get the team back on its feet.

“This is a great bunch of kids. They’re more than willing to listen and try whatever it is you’re trying to teach them,” he said. “It’s really a good bunch.”

Mehrer is looking for his 100th win as a coach. He finished with a 99-51 record at Douglas, where he coached the freshman team for the last eight years. This is his first shot at varsity.

“I think we have to do a lot of work,” Jones said.

But he thinks coach Mehrer is the kind of coach that can get the team back in winning shape. Jones said he’s challenges the team physically and knows basketball well.

Coach: Brian Mehrer, ninth year coaching basketball, first year at Whittell

Last year: 1-7 in league, 3-22 overall

Key returners: Jake Summers, Brian Jones, Nick Lowe, Matt Johnson, Alex Swearingen

Key to success: Build on experience

Opener: vs. Smith Valley Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

WHS boys’ schedule

Date Site Opponent Time

12/3/02 Home Smith Valley 7:30 p.m.

12/5-7/02 Away Dayton Tournament 2:30 p.m.

12/10/02 Home Quincy 6:30 p.m.

12/11/02 Home North Tahoe 7:30 p.m.

12/16/02 Away R.O.P. 5:30 p.m

12/20-21/02 Away Comstock Classic TBA

12/26-28/02 Away Manogue Tournament TBA

01/7/03 Away Incline 7:30 p.m.

01/9/03 Away Smith Valley 7:30 p.m.

01/10/03 Home Battle Mountain 7:30 p.m.

01/11/03 Home Silver Stage 6:30 p.m.

01/17/03 Home Independence 7:30 p.m.

01/18/03 Home West Wendover 2:30 p.m.

01/21/03 Away Lovelock 7:30 p.m.

01/24/03 Home Hawthorne 7:30 p.m.

01/25/03 Away Battle Mountain 4:30 p.m.

01/28/03 Home Incline 7:30 p.m.

01/31/03 Home Lovelock 7:30 p.m.

02/01/03 Away Silver Stage 5:30 p.m.

02/07/03 Away Independence 7:30 p.m.

02/08/03 Away West Wendover 3:00 p.m.

02/14/03 Away Hawthorne 7:30 p.m.

02/20/03 TBA League Playoff TBA

02/26/03 Reno State Tournament TBA


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