Warriors enjoying their title
Giddy was how Whittell High coach Nathan Tolbert characterized his team’s attitude as the Warriors returned to practice Tuesday following one of the most satisfying athletic weekends in school history.
Tolbert and the Warriors began preparations for the school’s first girls’ state basketball tournament appearance in 21 years after stunning Battle Mountain for the Northern 2A Regional Championship game on Saturday in Winnemucca.
The Warriors (18-7) will meet the Needles Mustangs (19-8) in the Nevada 2A semifinals on Friday at 6:20 p.m. at North Valleys High School in Reno.
“It was kind of a wasted practice today,” Tolbert said. “We worked on some things that we did poorly (at regionals), trying to bring them back to reality.
“Normally, we work a lot harder than we did today. They are all gamers. I don’t try to fight it, but I definitely have to make sure their heads are out of the clouds (today).”
Senior guard Tara Scaduto agreed with her coach’s assessment.
“It was kind of our Monday after having a three-day weekend. We weren’t as focused as we should have been,” Scaduto said.
“I think it will get better once we get back in the swing of things. I think we needed another day to relax and not stress ourselves out too much.”
Naturally, the Warriors were proud of their historic accomplishments last weekend. They captured the school’s first Northern 2A regional championship and secured the team’s first trip to state since Mike Kiger’s 1984-85 team lost to Boulder City in the first round of the tournament.
Like Whittell, Needles has yet to win a girls’ state tournament and they are just as excited to have the opportunity to make school history.
“It has been a few years since the girls have been to state,” said Needles fourth-year coach Bill Powell. “We’ve been runner-up four times. We had a little stumble on Saturday, but before that we had been doing pretty well.”
Needles went unscathed during the regular season in the Southern 2A, winning all eight league games. But the Mustangs were beaten by Lincoln County 55-52 in double overtime in the regional finals on Saturday.
“We don’t really have a go-to player and that’s really why we’ve been successful this year,” Powell said. “We share the ball real well. We’ve been on the same page for the last month and a half.”
Because of the vast distance between the schools, both coaches were scrambling for scouting reports on Tuesday.
“It’s unfortunate that we haven’t seen any film on anybody up there,” Powell said. “Either way you have to win two games, so it doesn’t matter who you play.”
Powell said he was expecting to play Battle Mountain after losing their regional championship game.
“It’s crazy how the flip-flop happened,” Powell said. “There was all this talk about Battle Mountain, and we didn’t know Whittell was going to be in there. For Whittell to be able to beat Battle Mountain, they must have something going.”
Luckily for the Warriors, there aren’t many clouds in the Lake Tahoe forecast for the rest of the week and they can get down to business in trying to win the school’s first state basketball title.
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