Warriors make playoff plans

Matt O'Neill

Whittell High’s victory wasn’t pretty, but the 48-35 win over Incline on Friday put the Warriors’ boys basketball team in the postseason for the first time since 1994.

The Warriors overcame a poor shooting night to beat the Incline Highlanders in Zephyr Cove to secure the third seed in the Nevada 2A playoffs.

“It feels really good (to make the playoffs),” Warrior coach Steve Maltase said. “I don’t think it’s hit the kids yet. They all came into the locker room looking (disgusted_.

“When I told them they’re in, they looked surprised and excited.”

Whittell’s game at Hawthorne was postponed Saturday and will likely be made up Tuesday. The Warriors open the division playoffs against Lovelock at 3 p.m. Friday in Hawthorne.

Whittell, 10-13, rode its quick defense throughout the game. In the first half, the Warriors were forced to come from behind as the Highlanders lead most of the way.

But the Warriors were able to make a run late in the second quarter to take a 23-18 lead, mainly on the strong free-throw shooting of freshman Nick Summers.

Summers had only three field goals in the first half, but connected on 6 of 8 from the charity stripe. However, it was his defense, as well as his back-court mate, Nestor Flores, that really jump-started the transition game for the Warriors.

“I was just trying to force them into difficult passes,” Flores said.

In the second half, Whittell went stone cold from the floor, only scoring five buckets. Sophomore Jake Summers scored all his nine of his points in the second half , making three of the five field goals.

“I was just trying to help out the team coming off the bench,” said Jakes Summers, who hit two big 3-pointers to keep the Warriors in the lead.

Because the Warriors shot the ball so poorly in the third period, Incline was still within striking distance, down only six heading into the final period.

The drought continued early in the fourth as Incline closed the gap to 39-35 with 5 minutes left in the game.

The Highlanders could have seized the momentum as Trevor White started a two-on-one on a fast break. But White was called for a player control foul when he ran over Jake Summers, who had planted himself in the lane to stop the break.

“That was a huge play by Jake,” Maltase said. “We need guys like that to take those kind of charges.”

Incline looked to fall apart after the charge and the Warriors took control of the game, repeatedly stopping the Highlander offense and hitting free throws at the other end.

Nick Summers connected on all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter.

Throughout the game, the Warrior home crowd urged the team on, especially in the third and fourth quarter, the student section erupted every time there was a steal or a basket.

“In my six years here, that was the best crowd I’ve seen,” Maltase said. “It really was a sixth man tonight.”

Flores also realized the importance of the crowd.

“They were keeping us in the game,” the point guard said. “They are the best overall, the most loyal fans in the league.”

WHS 6 17 9 16 – 48

IHS 8 10 12 9 – 35

Whittell (48) – Flores 12, Forvilly 2, Summers, J. 9, Swearingen 2, Summers, N. 17, Sigel 4, Warnick 2, Inglenuyff 2.

IHS (36) – Anderson 6, White 4, Craig 4, Dyess, K. 13, Dyess R. 8.

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