Slow start costs Whittell girls b-ball against Coleville |

Slow start costs Whittell girls b-ball against Coleville

Anthony Gentile
Whittell sophomore Kaitlyn Kjer drives to the basket in the Warriors’ league game against Coleville on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

ZEPHYR COVE — A sluggish first half kept the Whittell girls basketball team from victory against a beatable opponent Tuesday, Jan. 12. The Warriors lost a home league contest to Coleville 46-34, matching the Wolves only after a slow start.

“Our intensity in the first half was like a slow-moving locomotive,” Warriors coach Tom Esposito said. “By the time we picked up steam, we were so far behind.”

Whittell (3-10, 1-3 IV West) traded baskets with its opponent in the first minute, evening the score on a jump shot from senior Kelsey Kjer. But Coleville (5-5, 2-2) closed the opening frame on a 12-2 run, putting the Warriors in a 10-point hole.

A putback at the first-quarter buzzer from Coleville’s Chloey Bolen made it 14-4, and it didn’t get much better for Whittell in the first half. After sophomore Kaitlyn Kjer scored four points 28 seconds into the second quarter, the Warriors managed only three the rest of the way — and trailed 24-11 at halftime.

“Turnovers hurt us,” Esposito said. “They were in a zone and we were trying to go middle — just because someone is cutting doesn’t mean they’re open.”

After Coleville scored six straight points to start the second half, Whittell answered with an 8-0 run. Kelsey Kjer scored off a rebound to cut the Wolves’ lead to 30-19 with 3:46 left in the frame, but the Warriors wouldn’t get closer than en route to defeat.

Whittell trailed 37-21 after the third quarter, and fell behind by as many as 18 points in the fourth. The Warriors outscored Coleville after halftime, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start.

“We scored 11 in the first half and 23 in the second half,” Esposito said. “I asked the girls what the difference was — we have to figure it out.”

The Kjer sisters led the Warriors offensively in Tuesday’s defeat. Kaitlyn scored 14 points while Kelsey finished with 10 — the two combined for 16 points in the second half.

For Coleville, Shaylor McCann scored a game-high 15 points — the 5-foot-10-inch senior used her size to control play inside. Lauren Byers and Pawahnee Minder added eight points apiece for the Wolves.

Whittell returns to action at home Friday, Jan. 15, against Mineral County at 6 p.m. The Warriors travel to play Sage Ridge on Saturday, Jan. 16 — tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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