Warriors return to state
WINNEMUCCA – Three weeks ago, Whittell High School’s girls’ basketball team was mired in a six-game losing streak and tied for last place in the Northern 2A League.
On Saturday, the Warriors capped one of the more improbable runs by the team in school history by hoisting the regional championship trophy at the Winnemucca Indoor Events Center. The Warriors posted a shocking 61-60 victory over Battle Mountain, which had breezed through the league season unbeaten.
“I think it was so surprising to everybody,” said Whittell coach Nathan Tolbert. “I always believed that we could do it. We knew we had the talent and knew we had the potential. But once we did it, it was like, “Wow, we really did do it.’ “
The stunning win over Battle Mountain came a day after the Warriors held off Lovelock 51-48 to clinch the school’s first trip to the state tournament in 21 years.
“That was our goal all season, just to make it to state, not necessarily to win zone or state,” said senior forward Katrina Kacirek. “Now that we accomplished that, I think we can push a little bit harder and see how far we can go.”
The Warriors (18-7), who have reeled off six straight victories since losing six in a row, will play Needles in the Nevada 2A state semifinals on Friday at 6:20 p.m. at North Valleys High School in Reno.
Junior Kelly Karmann produced the game-winning basket against Battle Mountain. Karmann swished a 4-foot put-back with 8 seconds remaining to put Whittell ahead 61-59.
Battle Mountain, however, had an answer as the Longhorns’ leading scorer Tera Tremayne was fouled after gathering in a rebound with :02 remaining. She made the first free-throw attempt and before she could attempt to shoot the second, Tolbert called a time-out.
The delay between shots worked to perfection as Tremayne missed and Karmann went high to grab the game-clinching rebound. Karmann then kicked the ball out to sophomore Brittney Makara, and the Warriors were champions.
Senior guard Tara Scaduto and junior forward Jessica Woods provided the critical points against Lovelock.
Scaduto made 9 of 13 free throw attempts, including three in the final 40 seconds as Whittell defeated the Mustangs for the second time in a week.
Woods led the Warriors with 16 points.
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