Warriors take third in state
Whittell High lost its first two boys basketball games with Tonopah, but wound up winning the two most-important battles with the Muckers.
Senior Bryan Sigel scored six of his 25 points in overtime as the Warriors outlasted Tonopah 60-55 to claim third place in the Nevada 2A state tournament Friday in Sparks.
A week earlier, the Warriors edged the Muckers 49-47 to capture the Northern Nevada 2A Division tournament championship.
“It was a good way to finish my career,” said senior Luke Forvilly. “None of us were too excited to play it beforehand, but once the game started everyone took it seriously.
“All of the Tonopah fans were there, so we wanted to win it.”
Forvilly hit a pair of free throws with 33 seconds remaining in regulation to give Whittell a 52-49 lead. However, Tonopah’s Denver Bethel drained a 3-pointer over Nick Summers to tie the score.
“It was great shot. He pulled up from 21 feet and buried it,” said Whittell coach Steve Maltase.
Twenty seconds remained for Whittell to get off the winning shot, but the Warriors had trouble pulling off the play diagramed during a time-out. Point guard Nestor Flores passed the ball to sophomore Jake Summers in the corner, but Summers didn’t have enough time to get off a shot.
“We were trying to get the ball to either Nick (Summers) or Sigel off a cut, but the play just went south. But at least we didn’t let them get a shot at it,” Maltase said.
Sigel, playing in his final game for the Warriors, dominated the overtime. The 6-foot-3 forward scored twice off individual moves to start the extra period and added a pair of free throws to put away the Muckers.
“He took the team on his back in the postseason and did a great job,” Maltase said.
The Warriors started the third-place game almost identically to the way it opened the division championship a week earlier. Behind two 3-pointers by Sigel, Whittell bolted to an 11-0 lead.
“We just carried on and played the same way we played our last four games. We knew we could beat them,” Forvilly said.
But Tonopah didn’t go away, as the Muckers pulled to within 16-15 after one period and led 27-22 at halftime.
“For some reason our kids like being down at the half,” Maltase said.
Senior Joel Warnick gave the Warriors a big lift by canning a pair of shots to start the third period. From then on, the teams played the type of game fans prefer – a tight one.
“It was great. Those kids played hard when it counted,” Maltase said.
Forvilly scored eight points on a night when another player might have spent the duration of the game in the restroom.
“He threw up a couple times during the game, so we didn’t even think he was going to play,” Maltase said. “He ended up giving us some strong points.”
Seven of Maltase’s nine players scored. Nick Summers contributed 10 points and Flores seven.
Bethel led all scorers with 31 points, including 18 coming from beyond the 3-point arc.
Accompanying the team success have been several individual honors.
Sigel earned a sportsmanship award for his behavior and attitude during Whittell’s 58-51 semifinal loss to The Meadows on Thursday. At the division tournament, Sigel was named MVP.
“He’s a come a long way this season,” Maltase said. “We needed to find some leadership and he took over that responsibility and did a good job.”
Whittell ended the season with a 14-14 record, including the school’s first zone title in three decades.
“We didn’t finish with the best record, but the last four games were really satisfying for everybody,” Forvilly said. “No one expected us to do as well as we did.”
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