Warriors bounce back to forge tie at top of Western League
After having its 12-game win streak broken last week, the Whittell Warriors boys’ basketball team got the bounce back effort it wanted.
The Warriors whipped the Mineral County Serpents 49-31 Friday, Jan. 12, in Hawthorne, Nevada to forge a tie at the top of the 1A Western League standings.
Both teams started slow with missed shots, poor passing and all-around tight play in a crucial league clash.
“We happened to settle down quicker and got into a nice rhythm,” said Warriors head coach Phil Bryant. “We stayed with what we always do and relied on our press to disrupt their offensive comfort and then fell back into a zone, which we have not done for more than a few minutes all year. They were not able to solve the gaps or hit anything with any consistency from outside. They are a team that likes to get to the rim and that was denied as our guys simply left no holes.”
Whittell held the Serpents to single digits in all four quarters, but the Warriors had to rally from scoring three points in the first period to hold a 21-15 lead at halftime.
The start to the game was similar to the Warriors loss against Sierra Lutheran last week. Whittell hit just one of 10 shots and one of four free throws in the opening eight minutes.
“They were good shots so we just reminded them that we lost the Sierra Lutheran game because we didn’t finish plays and didn’t stay aggressive,” Bryant said.
The Warriors came out of the gate hot in the third quarter and buried Mineral. They led 39-22 going into the final period.
Corey Huber led the Warriors offense with 15 points, Trent Dingman added 14 and Genaro Mena had 12.
“Genaro played really well and attacked the rim on almost every touch,” Bryant said. “That aggressiveness opened up perimeter shot attempts for Corey and Trent and they combined for five threes.”
The Warriors are the smallest team in the league with three starters under 5-foot-9, but they controlled the boards against the Serpents. Troy Libert grabbed 14 rebounds, Mena hauled in eight, Isaiah Womack had six, Dingman added six and Huber had five.
The Warriors (7-1 Western) are tied with Sierra Lutheran (7-1 Western) just ahead of Mineral County (6-1 Western).
The Virginia City Muckers (6-1 Western) were stunned by Pyramid Lake (2-5 Western) Friday but bounced back the next day with a win over Coleville (1-6 Western) and sit in fourth place, the last playoff qualifying position.
“It was a nice recovery from the Sierra Lutheran loss and puts us back in control of our own destiny,” Bryant said. “We simply need to take care of our own business from this point on.”
The Warriors will play an away non-league game Wednesday, Jan. 17, against the Westwood Lumberjacks in Lassen County, California. They jump back into league play Friday, Jan. 19, with a first-place battle against Sierra Lutheran in Carson City.