Whittell boys b-ball beats Mineral County in first-place showdown
HAWTHORNE, Nev. — In a battle of league unbeatens, the Whittell boys basketball team continued its winning ways. The Warriors beat Mineral County 59-36 last Saturday to notch a seventh straight victory in Div. IV West League play and remain atop the standings.
“We both came in undefeated in league, so it was important to get a win and stay in front,” Warriors head coach Phil Bryant said.
Whittell (15-1, 7-0 IV West) shook off an uncharacteristically slow start in its victory over the Serpents. The Warriors led 13-8 after a sluggish first quarter, and decided to stray from their defensive full-court pressure as a result.
“We actually pulled off the press because I didn’t feel we were playing with any intensity,” Bryant said. “We went to more of a half-court trap to try and be disruptive in another way — we were much more effective with that, so we stayed with it.”
After the slow start, the Warriors used big second and third quarters to put away Mineral County (11-7, 6-1). Whittell had a 31-17 lead at halftime and opened up a 22-point advantage after the third quarter en route to a comfortable victory.
Whittell guard Palmer Chaplin scored a game-high 25 points in the win to go along with six assists and three steals. That performance raised the junior’s season average to 22.5 points per game.
“Palmer repeatedly goes out and proves why he is one of the best all-around players in the state,” Bryant said. “Defenses are always geared to stop him and he finds a way to get it done.”
On the inside, Warriors forward Quinn Kixmiller delivered a strong performance. Kixmiller produced a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds while giving the Serpents fits close to the basket.
“He was going against a big post player from Mineral County and did a great job of driving to the basket and creating problems for them,” Bryant said. “He has worked hard everyday on improving his game and it shows.”
Whittell guard Bryce Bronken finished with nine points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Guard Colin Buchholz added six points.
Defensively, Whittell keyed on Mineral County’s Tyshawn Bonner and Taylen Wachsmuth — and shut both players down. Bonner and Wachsmuth combined for four points in the loss, well below their season averages.
“That was the game plan, and it was team defense — and the play of Colin and Osvaldo (Reyes-Lucero) in particular — that got it done.”
Whittell returns to action on the road Friday night against Virginia City in a rematch of last season’s Div. IV state championship game — both teams enter the matchup with undefeated marks in league play. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“They are playing really well under Tom Maurer in his first year at Virginia City,” Bryant said. “Tom is an experienced coach and one of the best basketball minds around — it’s a great rivalry and one we look forward to playing.”
WARRIORS JV BEATS SERPENTS, REMAINS UNDEFEATED
HAWTHORNE, Nev. — The Whittell junior varsity boys basketball team remained undefeated on the season with a win over Mineral County last Saturday. The Warriors beat the Serpents 49-36 in a battle of league unbeatens, improving their record to 10-0.
Whittell overcame a slow start in Saturday’s victory. In the first quarter, the Warriors committed several unforced turnovers as the result of poor execution and decision-making.
“It’s something our young guys really need to work on,” Warriors varsity head coach Phil Bryant said. “They play hard all the time but need work on seeing the floor better when we have the ball. It’s something we have been emphasizing but positive results haven’t been as fast as we would like — on the plus side, they seem to find a way to win with defense.”
Forward Caleb Moretti led Whittell with 16 points in the win, and was one of four players in double figures against Mineral County. Guard Genaro Mena scored 12 points, guard Nick Buchholz finished with 11 and guard Peyton Galli added 10.
“Caleb continues to make big plays on offense and defense with his hustle,” Bryant said. “He still needs to settle down a little more on offense, but is always around the basket.”
Bryant said that some of the Warriors’ less experienced players are beginning to develop as the season rolls along. He said forwards Kai Mangiaracina and Trinity Dickinson are continuously getting better, and that 6-foot-4-inch sophomore Scott Harrison could be a surprise next season.
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