Unbeaten battle: Lady Warriors host rival Virginia City for 1st place | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Unbeaten battle: Lady Warriors host rival Virginia City for 1st place

Whittell freshman Jessica Johnson drives to the basket earlier this season. Johnson score a career-high 15 points Friday, Jan. 18, against Pyramid Lake.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — The Whittell Lady Warriors won two hoops league games and lost a non-conference clash in the last week and are set for a heavyweight showdown with their rival.

The Warriors defeated Pyramid Lake 49-39 on Friday, Jan. 18, to push their win streak to six games, the program’s longest in 12 seasons. They had that streak snapped the next day by Smith Valley 42-40 in a measuring stick game and crushed Excel Christian 49-14 Tuesday.

“We are much better on the defensive end of the court and still inconsistent on the offensive end,” said Warriors head coach Phil Bryant. “We are getting plenty of shots but shooting at a very low percentage in every aspect: free throws, 2’s and 3’s.”

Freshman Jessica Johnson and senior Brianna Johns each scored 15 points to lead the Lady Warriors over Pyramid in Zephyr Cove. Johns hit 3 of 5 from beyond the arc and also made six steals.

Also for Whittell, Madison Burch scored five points and grabbed eight rebounds, Kyla Rippet scored five points, Anna White had four, Trinity Kirvada-McGowan had three and Shaylie Rippet had two.

Against Smith Valley, the Warriors enjoyed a 14-point lead at halftime before missing their first 25 shots to start the third quarter.

Whittell lost to Smith Valley by 19 points in its season opener and in less than two months have improved and completely closed the gap.

Johns led the way with 15 points while Kirvada-McGowan had nine, Johnson eight and Burch four.

The Warriors third-quarter shooting blues continued Tuesday when they missed 21 straight shots against Excel Christian. But their defense was in charge and the poor shooting didn’t cost them.

“We work on shooting at game speed but the difference between practice shooting and game shooting is still quite a bit different in their minds,” Bryant said. “We are happy with where we are but face a huge challenge with Virginia City on Friday night.”

The Warriors (10-5, 3-0 1A West League) are tied with Virginia City (7-7, 3-0 West) and the teams will meet at 6 p.m. Looking at common opponents, the Muckers are beating the same teams by a little larger margin.

“They are tied with us at the top of the standings and appear to be the better team when we compare scores,” Bryant said. “It will be a good test and we hope to be up to the challenge. Right now our best scorers are not producing as their percentages have dropped dramatically over the past four or five games.”