Whittell girls b-ball beats Mineral County in OT | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell girls b-ball beats Mineral County in OT

Anthony Gentile

HAWTHORNE, Nev. — The Whittell girls basketball team simply isn’t bothered by the pressure that accompanies overtime. The Warriors edged Mineral County 62-61 on the road after an extra period last Saturday, improving to 2-0 in overtime games this season.

“They have the desire and the realization that they can take the game if they step it up a little bit — they know they’re tired, but let’s go,” Warriors head coach Tom Esposito said. “That’s kind of our mental attitude right now.”

Whittell (5-10, 3-4 IV West) needed a late rally just to force the extra period. The Warriors trailed 42-32 after three quarters, and Mineral County (5-7, 4-3) led by 11 points early in the fourth quarter before their rally began.

“They were down the whole game and couldn’t get a lead until the end,” Esposito said.

The Warriors came as close as six multiple times down the stretch — and turned to their defense to finally pull even. With three minutes left, Whittell applied full-court pressure that rattled the Serpents.

“We put a full-court press on and were able to get three turnovers — somehow we managed to tie it,” Esposito said.

Whittell guard Daria Sharon tied the game in the closing seconds by hitting one of two free throws. Mineral County had a chance to win the game on the ensuing possession, but couldn’t score before the buzzer.

“We had a hard time convincing them about the full-court press working until the Sierra Lutheran game,” Esposito said. “After pressing when we were down in this game, they’re buying into the idea that disruptive defense is helpful.”

The Serpents scored the first four points of overtime, forcing another Warriors’ rally. With 0.6 seconds left, Mineral County needed two free throws to tie the game — it missed the second and Whittell secured the rebound to deliver the one-point win.

“We had to hit them with the press again and we were able to keep it tied,” Esposito said. “We had to come back again — it was just a dogfight.”

Guarda Ali Copsy and Samantha Forvilly led Whittell with 15 points apiece in the victory, and were two of four Warriors to score in double figures. Sharon finished with 12 points, forward Jordyn Becker had 10 and guard Chelsea Aguirre-Rodriguez added seven — 62 points marked a season-high for the Warriors.

“We put a little more motion into the offense. We moved around a lot more than we normally did and made an attempt to get the defense moving from side to side,” Esposito said. “We had a lot of open shots and it was a good shooting night for us.”

For the second time in five games, Whittell produced a victory after regulation. On Jan. 6, the Warriors beat Sierra Lutheran 40-37 in double overtime for its first league win.

“It was a fun game — the crowd was into it and both teams were into it,” Esposito said.

Whittell continues league play Friday at Virginia City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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