Whittell boys smash Sage Ridge to end regular season, wrap up No. 2 seed
NIAA Class 1A Playoffs
Boys — Quarterfinals
Thursday, Feb. 21
Whittell (No. 2 West) vs. Eureka (No. 3 East), 3:15 p.m., Hug High School
Jackpot (No. 1 East) vs. Pyramid Lake (No. 4 West), 4:55 p.m., Wooster High School
Wells (No. 2 East) vs. Sage Ridge (No. 3 West), 6:35 p.m., Hug
Sierra Lutheran (No. 1 West) vs. McDermitt (No. 4 East), 8:15 p.m., Wooster
Friday, Feb. 22
Jackpot/Pyramid Lake vs. Whittell/Eureka, 3:15 p.m., Hug
Sierra Lutheran/McDermitt vs. Wells/Sage Ridge, 6:35 p.m., Wooster
Saturday, Feb. 23
TBD vs. TBD, 5 p.m., Wooster
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Whittell got into playoff form Tuesday and secured the No. 2 seed heading into the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 1A West-East Region Basketball Championships.
Zack Johns scored 21 points and Dylan Wade grabbed a whopping 24 rebounds Tuesday night in the Warriors 69-40 thrashing of the Sage Ridge Scorpions in Zephyr Cove.
“I felt like we had better energy, better than most games,” Johns said. “That was probably one of my best games of the year. Our defense was a little poor, but overall, I think that was one of our strongest games until the third quarter when things went a little wrong.”
The Warriors ran through the Scorpions like a warm knife through butter in the first period.
Whittell’s full-court press pressured Sage Ridge into turnovers resulting in layups for the Warriors.
Whittell led 27-8 after the first quarter and Sage Ridge would never get closer.
“Everybody talks about defense, but to me it’s all about buckets, you have to score,” said Warriors head coach Phil Bryant. “We really score off our press and 3-pointers, Isaiah (Womack) does a great job of getting to the rim, but when our press is on, we’re pretty good.”
The Warriors extended their lead to 39-15 at halftime and it was basically game over.
Johns hit a couple of jump shots but scored mostly from close range, Trent Dingman added 14 points and Womack netted 11, and could’ve easily had 20 if he finished some of the tough layups he normally makes. Womack also dished eight assists and made five steals, both team highs.
For the shots that didn’t go in, Wade was there to snag the rebound.
He grabbed eight offensive rebounds, a few came on his own missed shots from long range, and 16 on the defensive side.
The guard also jumps for the ball on the opening tip-off and was the player everybody relied on to free the ball when a shot got stuck between the backboard and rim.
“Dylan had a great game on the boards, I don’t know what the school record is, but he was amazing,” Bryant said. “He’s pretty athletic, has good timing, but he got 24 rebounds for us and we’re not a good rebounding team.”
Whittell continued to get easy buckets and get to the rim at will in the second half.
Also for the Warriors (19-2, 8-2 West League), Wade finished with nine points, Jack White canned a pair of 3-pointers, Sterling Manchester scored six points and Malachi Womack added a bucket.
Whittell beat Sage Ridge by just 11 points earlier in the season (77-66) but it was a mismatch Tuesday night.
“We’ve had a lot of time to practice and we’ve gotten a lot better since then,” Johns said. “A lot guys have really stepped up.”
The Warriors play Eureka (11-10, 6-4 East), the No. 3 seed from the East, for the fourth straight year in the first round of playoffs. The Vandals are likely getting sick of that matchup having the Warriors end their season in the consecutive years.
The game will tip-off at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at Hug High School in Reno
Should they advance, The Warriors will face the winner between Jackpot, the East’s top seed, and Pyramid Lake at 3:15 p.m. Friday at Wooster High School in Reno.
Should they win their semifinal match, they would play for the regional title at 5 p.m. Saturday at Wooster.
Johns said the way the Warriors played Tuesday will help heading into postseason.
“We just came off a loss a couple of games ago so this is a good confidence booster for sure,” Johns said, “for everybody.”