Warriors earn fifth straight postseason berth
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
Despite a four-game losing streak to end the regular season, the Whittell High girls’ basketball team will make its fifth straight postseason appearance.
Hawthorne edged Whittell 26-24 on Saturday in Hawthorne, dropping the Warriors to a fifth seed for the Northern 2A regional tournament.
The two teams will meet again Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Wooster High in Reno. The inner will play top-seeded Battle Mountain in the regional semifinals at 6:20 p.m. Friday at Winnemucca Events Center.
The Warriors (9-14 overall, 3-7 division) didn’t have a chance to tie in the final minute.
“We put the press in in the last minute and closed the gap. I should have put the press in a little quicker, but I wasn’t planning to show them everything,” said WHS coach Nathan Tolbert, whose team played without Isabel Concha-Foley and Gosia Skwarlinska.
“(Freshmen) Karin Sharon and Rachel Laub played excellent games for us. They both did an excellent job of filling the holes.”
STHS teams barely miss playoffs
The STHS girls’ basketball team lost to North Valleys 44-40 on Friday and finished tied for fourth in the Sierra Division. The Vikings lost a fourth-place tiebreaker to Hug, which will play at High Desert champion Reed on Wednesday.
Hug gained the tiebreaker edge over the Vikings because the teams the Hawks defeated in division play had a better cummulative division record than the schools South Tahoe dispatched.
“It’s just the way it goes,” said STHS coach Chris Holmes. “It would have been nice to have a one-game playoff. I knew going into it that Hug had the point differential. I knew if we didn’t win, we were (probably) out.”
The Vikings made a strong push to overtake the Panthers in the final minutes.
“We pressed and got back in the game with our defense. If they had brought that kind of effort earlier in the game, it might have been different,” Holmes said.
Holmes was ecstatic about the final performances of seniors Tiffany Lueder and Jordan Dalton.
“Jordan brought a lot energy and Tiffany probably had her best game that I’ve ever seen her play. She toughened up on defense, and offensively, she was taking her shots. It was the most exciting part of season to see her go out and play like that.”
Vikings trounce Panthers in finale
Vince Capellino and Tony Stagnaro wouldn’t allow the STHS boys to lose their final game in a blue and gold uniform.
The seniors, clinging to an outside playoff chance, combined for 47 points as the Vikings blew out North Valleys 73-55 on Friday in Reno. Capellino scored a game-high 28 points, and Stagnaro repeatedly penetrated through the Panther defense to score from close range or dish to Capellino for a basket.
“That’s the way you want to finish your senior season,” said STHS coach Chris Proctor. “A minute into the fourth quarter, Tony and Vince just put on a show. Vince and Tony had 20 points (in a two-minute span). Vince had two dunks and two breakaways and Tony had seven assists.”
Despite the lopsided victory, the Vikings missed the playoffs. The Vikings (6-8) placed fifth in the Sierra Division under their first-year coach, one game behind fourth-place Damonte (7-7).
The Mustangs, who qualified for the postseason for the first time in school history, will play at defending state champion Galena on Tuesday night.
Hernandez has career night vs. ROP
Senior Christian Hernandez scored a career-high 32 points in Whittell High’s 72-57 boys’ basketball defeat to Northern 2A League winner Rite of Passage on Friday night in Zephyr Cove.
Hernandez scored most of his points inside against ROP, as only one of his baskets was a three-pointer. Jeremy Dominguez scored 13 points for the Warriors.
“We played them closer than we did before. If we had all of our free throws, we would have only lost by three points,” said Whittell coach Brian Mehrer. “The 2A league is just tough this year. The top four teams are all very good.”
ROP finished 12-2 in league play.
Hawthorne used a third-quarter run to pull away from Whittell 57-44 Saturday afternoon in Hawthorne and finish in a fifth-place tie with Silver Stage.
After Whittell tied the score at 26 in the third quarter, the Serpents outscored the Warriors 31-18 the rest of the way.
Hernandez led Whittell with 16 points, followed by Cody Nelson’s 15.
Whittell finished 8-17 overall, including 1-11 in the Northern 2A.
“Our freshman and sophomores got a lot of playing time (this year),” Mehrer said. “A couple of years down the road we should be all right.”
Lane shoots down Panthers
Moriah Lane scored a career-best 29 points to lead the South Tahoe freshman girls’ basketball team to a 53-33 rout of North Valleys on Friday in South Lake Tahoe.
Lane equalled her career high with three trifectas.
“I’ve just been practicing it a lot,” Lane said of her three-point prowess.
Melissa Sabac scored 12 points and Ellen Dupree netted eight for STHS, which collected its third win of the season.
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