Whittell boys b-ball routs Sage Ridge 70-13
ZEPHYR COVE — With a high-stakes showdown on the horizon, the Whittell boys basketball team dismantled an overmatched opponent Wednesday night. The Warriors beat visiting Sage Ridge 70-13, playing 14 different players while remaining on track to defend their Div. IV West League crown.
“We got the win and we’re going to go on to Friday and Saturday,” Warriors head coach Phil Bryant said.
Whittell (21-2, 13-1 IV West) scored the first 16 points of the game, and had a 24-3 lead after the first quarter. The Warriors replaced four of five starters with 2:40 left in the frame, and had a dominant opening eight minutes capped by a layup from guard Jake Sharp with five seconds left.
“We wanted to get control of the game because it was a league game — after that it was about running some sets and then getting experience for as many of the guys as we could,” Bryant said.
Warriors’ reserves outscored Sage Ridge (1-15, 1-10) by two in the first half of the second quarter before the starting five returned to the floor and closed the first half on a 16-3 run. Whittell had a commanding 44-8 advantage at halftime.
“It’s tough to have the level of focus that you need in a game like that — they’re kids and they know they’re the better team,’ Bryant said. “We talked at halftime about being a little more focused about what we’re supposed to do.”
Whittell’s lead stretched to 51 points by the end of the third quarter — a running clock started with 5:56 left in the frame when a layup from forward Bryce Bronken put the Warriors ahead 50-10. From the midway point of the third quarter, reserves and junior varsity players finished the game for Whittell.
Guard Palmer Chaplin led Whittell with 11 points and seven assists in the win — he scored in double figures along Bronken, guard Colin Buchholz and forward Quinn Kixmiller, who each finished with 10. In limited time on the court, the Warriors’ starters ran nine different half-court offensive plays against Sage Ridge.
“We tried to run some of the sets we are going to run Friday and Saturday — and not just run out and score in transition,” Bryant said. “We got some of the objectives out of the way with some of the new stuff we’re running.”
The Warriors’ lopsided win allowed experienced reserves to see extended time on the floor while giving the team’s younger players some much-needed seasoning. Sharp (six points), junior guard Andy Delgado (two points) and senior guard Max Primo all got more minutes Wednesday night.
“Jake has played really well and had good practices — he’s attacking the rim more,” Bryant said. “He could be a real surprise for us the next couple of games.”
Freshman varsity reserves Corey Huber and Troy Libert also gained valuable experience in the win. Huber scored four points while handling point guard duties, and Libert finished with eight points and six rebounds.
“We’re really trying to get Troy established and get Corey to handle the ball,” Bryant said. “I was really happy with some of the stuff Troy did — running the floor and blocking some shots.”
The last four minutes of the game featured four players from the Warriors’ undefeated junior varsity team. That group included sophomores Kai Mangiaracina and Trinity Dickinson along with freshmen Peyton Galli and Caleb Moretti — Moretti finished with five points.
The win was Whittell’s sixth straight, and sets up a high-stakes rematch with Virginia City on Friday night. The second meeting between the Warriors and Muckers will all but determine the Div. IV West League champion — Virginia City (22-2, 12-0) is currently undefeated in league play.
Friday night’s game tips off at 7:30 p.m. and will be a “Red Out” — all fans planning to attend are encouraged to wear red to support the Warriors in their home finale. Whittell concludes the regular season Saturday at Sierra Lutheran at 5:30 p.m.
WHITTELL GIRLS B-BALL PICKS UP FORFEIT WIN
The Whittell girls basketball added a victory without taking the court Wednesday, notching a forfeit win over Sage Ridge. The Scorpions decided not to make the trip to Zephyr Cove, giving the Warriors a win — last Friday, Whittell won the first meeting between the teams 52-18.
Whittell (8-15, 6-8 IV West) returns to action Friday night at 6 p.m., when it faces Virginia City in its last home game of the regular season. The Warriors conclude their season on the road against Sierra Lutheran Saturday — tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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