Whittell boys b-ball falls at Virginia City, suffers first league loss
VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. — The Whittell boys basketball team’s first meeting against Virginia City offered a hard lesson in toughness. The Warriors weren’t as physical as the Muckers last Friday night, and it resulted in a 60-53 loss in the first rematch of last year’s Div. IV state championship game.
“We played hard but that’s often not enough against good teams — we need to be tougher as a group,” Warriors head coach Phil Bryant said. “It’s above playing hard and playing smart — it’s being tough when you are challenged physically. We still need some growth in the area of toughness.”
In an otherwise even contest, the second quarter made the difference as the Warriors suffered their first league loss. Virginia City (17-2, 8-0 IV West) outscored Whittell 26-13 in the frame to take a 10-point lead into halftime — the Warriors led by three after the first quarter.
“They were all over the offensive boards and their inside guys were the difference in that quarter,” Bryant said. “We did a poor job of blocking out the entire game and they took advantage of it.”
After halftime, Whittell (15-2, 7-1 IV West) matched the Muckers’ physical play while stepping up its defense. The Warriors outscored Virginia City in the second half, but their double-digit halftime deficit was too much to overcome in the seven-point loss.
“We finally settled down and got a little more physical,” Bryant said.
One of the second half defensive keys for Whittell was putting in guard Dismas Womack to cover Virginia City’s point guard. Womack held his Muckers counterpart to six points after halftime — in the first two quarters he scored 15.
“It was the best individual defensive effort of the year for any of our players,” Bryant said.
Forward Bryce Bronken led Whittell with 17 points in the loss and was one of three Warriors in double figures. Guard Palmer Chaplin finished with 14 points — the junior was 4-for-11 from the field while facing two Muckers defenders for the entire game.
“It was the physicality of their defense that caused the scoring issues,” Bryant said.
Forward Quinn Kixmiller was the Warriors’ third player in double digits, scoring 10 points to go along with eight rebounds. Guard Colin Buchholz scored six points against Virginia City, but was held scoreless in the second and third quarters.
Referees allowed for physical play in the battle of league unbeatens — and Virginia City took advantage. The Muckers did most of their scoring on second-chance opportunities, chances created as the result of outmuscling Whittell down low.
“It’s like being in a boxing match, and taking punches in every round and not hitting back,” Bryant said. “We need to hit back when the situation calls for it by being as physical as our opponents when it’s that type of game.”
Whittell and Virginia City met four times last season — twice in league play and two more times in the playoffs. The Warriors won each of the regular season meetings with the Muckers, and lost in the regional championship game before winning the fourth meeting to claim the Div. IV state title.
“It’s only one game, and we lost a league game last year and still won the championship — the big question is how we respond in the next games before playing Virginia City again,” Bryant said. “They are a good team and this is a wake-up call for all of us.
“I didn’t have them ready enough to play in the manner we needed to play against a team like Virginia City — that’s on me as the coach,” he added. “I will fix my role in that and they will fix theirs — it’s that simple.”
Whittell returned to action Tuesday night at home against Pryamid Lake. The Warriors play at Excel Christian Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and host Smith Valley on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Whittell JV beats Muckers, improves to 11-0
VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. — The Whittell junior varsity boys basketball team started fast last Friday to continue its unbeaten run. The Warriors beat Virginia City 53-30 on the road, a victory that moves them to 11-0 on the season.
“The team is really playing together well,” Bryant said. “We see constant improvement from the group as the season moves on.”
Whittell raced out to a 17-4 lead over the Muckers en route to a comfortable victory. Guard Nick Buchholz scored 14 points for Whittell in the win and guard Connor Huber added 11 — defensively, the Warriors forced numerous Muckers’ turnovers with their full-court pressure.
“The good thing about their win streak is that all 12 JV players are playing in every game,” Bryant said. “They are having fun now and that’s a good thing.”
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