Whittell boys b-ball beats Excel Christian 74-48, claims share of Div. IV West League title
ZEPHYR COVE — A career night from its top player propelled the Whittell boys basketball team to a share of the Div. IV West League crown on Saturday, Feb. 6. The Warriors beat Excel Christian 74-48 at home, led by a career-high 40 points from senior guard Palmer Chaplin.
“It was a milestone for Palmer,” Warriors head coach Phil Bryant said. “It is the first time in his career that I let him play out the game.”
Whittell (19-2, 11-0 IV West) delivered its 17th straight victory in decisive fashion, opening up a 36-18 lead at halftime that stretched to 28 points by the end of the third quarter. Chaplin finished with 40 points on 16-of-25 shooting, and hit 8-of-12 3-point attempts — he also had four assists.
“His teammates got him the ball in good spots and he was hitting them from deep; he also kept up with the assists and played a great floor game,” Bryant said. “All season long he has cut back on scoring to keep teammates involved and strengthen our team scoring, and it was OK for this one night to let him go.”
Sophomore Troy Libert finished with eight points and six rebounds against Excel Christian (6-11, 5-6). Senior Colin Buchholz had seven points, eight rebounds and five assists, while senior Quinn Kixmiller added four points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
On Friday, Feb. 5, Whittell breezed to a 67-10 win at Smith Valley. The Warriors held the Bulldogs scoreless in the second and fourth quarters as part of a blowout win.
The Warriors led 30-2 after the opening frame Friday, and sat their starters the rest of the way. Buchholz scored 15 points while Libert had nine and Kixmiller added seven for Whittell, who played without Chaplin and junior Dismas Womack.
The final three quarters allowed Whittell to strengthen its depth for the upcoming postseason. The Warriors had a commanding 50-2 lead at halftime en route to the lopsided victory.
“Every player suited up, scored in the game and was able to get quite a few minutes,” Bryant said.
After the weekend sweep, Whittell had a three-game lead in the league standings with three to play. The Warriors had the chance to clinch the league championship at home Tuesday, Feb. 9, against Pyramid Lake — they conclude the regular season by hosting Sierra Lutheran Friday, Feb. 12, and traveling to Virginia City on Saturday, Feb. 13.
“Hopefully we are peaking at a good time,” Bryant said. “We are not overlooking anyone in our league, but are keeping our eye on the east and the south.”