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Warriors gain momentum in losses to 2A’s top teams

ZEPHYR COVE – No basketball team wants to take a six-game losing streak in a postseason tournament.

But the Whittell High boys found a silver lining in their two Northern 2A Division defeats to conclude the regular season. Whittell took division champion Rite of Passage into overtime on Friday night in Yerington and led third-place Independence by 15 points on Saturday before losing 72-63.

The Warriors (8-17), who missed the postseason last year, will open the six-team regional tournament against Lovelock at 7:45 p.m. Thursday in Winnemucca. Whittell must win two games to qualify for the state tournament for the first time in four years.



“It’s a brand-new season and our guys are gonna fight on Thursday,” said Whittell coach Dennis Young. “We’re going in on a good note and I think we can beat any of these teams.”

The Colts rallied from a seven-point deficit after three periods to finish in a third-place tie with Lovelock. While the Warriors’ perimeter shooting went cold, Independence got key fourth-quarter trifectas by Darius Mabry and sophomore Vincent Norwood. Norwood’s long-range bomb was the key shot as it came after Whittell pulled to within three points with 1:07 left.




Chris Shapiro responded with a long two to make the score 67-63 but an unsuccessful three-point attempt and four straight free throws on one possession by Charles Johnson kept Whittell at bay. A technical foul on Young in the closing seconds set up Johnson’s extended stay at the foul line and also gave the Colts’ possession of the ball.

Independence started out like a team that made a seven-hour bus ride Saturday. With seven seniors playing their final home game, Whittell rode that momentum to a 25-10 lead after one period.

Senior Brian Hanshew drained three trifectas and scored 16 points in the first eight minutes.

“It kind of went downhill from there,” said Hanshew, who only scored seven more points and finished with 23. “I was on in the first half but just got off in the second half.”

The Colts roared back with an 18-2 run to start the second quarter. Mabry’s inside bucket put Independence ahead 28-27 with just over 2 minutes left in the half.

But back-to-back three-pointers by Chris Shapiro and Hanshew returned the lead to Whittell, 34-28. Shapiro sank another trey with :37 left and the Warriors went into halftime with a 38-33 edge.

“We didn’t do anything wrong on offense and played pretty decent defense, it just didn’t fall in the second quarter and we let them back in the game,” Young said.

The lid stayed on the Warriors’ basket in the second half, especially when they tried three-point shots. Whittell’s only three-pointer of the second half came from junior guard Chris Craig.

“The lead goes quickly up when you hit them and quickly down if you don’t hit them,” said Independence coach Ryan Leith. “I just told the guys to get out and pressure them.”

Independence used its speed and athleticism to overtake the Warriors. Full-court pressure defense and quick baskets in transition allowed the Colts to show off their talent.

“They are quick, they are athletic and they are probably the best team in the league,” Young said.

Johnson finished with 27 points and Mabry added 16. Shapiro delivered 15 points and Tommy Esquivel 11 for Whittell.

Whittell nearly dealt Rite of Passage its second division defeat on Friday night, losing 64-58 in overtime.

The Warriors recovered from a 19-point third-quarter deficit and were in great position to win in regulation. Whittell had a chance to go ahead by four points in the final minute and after ROP tied the score late, the Warriors couldn’t get off a shot in the final 7 seconds.

“We just started pressuring them, playing good defense and we were getting some good shots,” Young said.

Shapiro and Brian Vogt led the Warriors with 15 points. Whittell’s other starters also contributed as Hanshew scored 10 and Tommy Esquivel and Chris Craig netted eight points.

Viking rally falls short

After falling behind by 17 points in the first quarter against Wooster on Saturday, South Tahoe’s boys’ basketball team appeared to be looking ahead to the offseason.

But the Vikings looked like a playoff team the rest of way, trimming the deficit to two points three times in the final period before falling 69-61 to playoff-bound Wooster in South Lake Tahoe.

The Vikings concluded their season with a 12-16 overall mark, including 2-10 Sierra Division mark. Wooster (13-12) earned a No. 3 regional seed and will play Manogue on Wednesday.

Each time the Vikings narrowed the deficit to a bucket in the fourth quarter, the Colts had an answer. Following two free throws by Dan Tinlin, C.J. Schander made a three-point play to make the score 61-56.

Wooster’s Joey Golaw followed with a pair of free throws and Hunter put back a rebound for a 65-56 Colts’ lead. But South Tahoe’s Jared Wood answered with a three-point basket with 1:02 left.

South Tahoe had a chance to get closer as Smith missed two free throws, but the Vikings didn’t box out and Schander got the rebound and was fouled. He made one of two tries, putting the Colts ahead 66-59 with :46 remaining.

Curcie scored on a pass from Wood to make the score 66-61 with :35 to go, but the Vikings made the mistake of fouling Golaw. Golaw made both foul shots with :32 left and the Colts added one final free throw to close out scoring.

Tinlin had 15 points and Wood 13.

STHS girls have golden touch in finale

South Tahoe should have broken out the home gold uniforms before Saturday’s season finale.

Wearing gold for the first time all season, the Vikings had the golden touch in beating Wooster 43-33 in South Lake Tahoe.

“We are going to wear them next year until we lose,” said South Tahoe first-year coach Mark Shehadi. “They finally clicked and got it all together, and we had a lot of fun.”

The Vikings led by as many as 17 points, frustrating the Colts with their trapping half-court defense.

“The girls executed very well,” said Shehadi, who loses only one player to graduation.

Katelyn Pakes led the Vikings with 15 points, while Dana Jense and Jessica Bettencourt combined for 24 points. Stephanie Morrow and Courtney Blann continually foiled the Colts’ offense with steals.

South Tahoe finished 6-18 overall and 2-10 in the Sierra Division.

“Hopefully we can carry this over into next year and make it a winning streak,” Shehadi said.


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