Whittell girls b-ball bounces back, beats Sage Ridge 55-28 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell girls b-ball bounces back, beats Sage Ridge 55-28

Anthony Gentile
Whittell junior Samantha Forvilly goes up for a shot against a Mineral County defender in the Warriors’ league game against the Serpents on Friday, Jan. 15.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

RENO, Nev. — The Whittell girls basketball team bounced back from a frustrating defeat a night earlier to win on the road Saturday, Jan. 16. The Warriors beat Sage Ridge 55-28 at South Reno Athletic Club, pulling away late to end a three-game losing streak in decisive fashion.

“The bounce back was a good sign,” Warriors coach Tom Esposito said. “It was a fun bus ride home.”

Whittell (4-11, 2-4 IV West) led 24-14 at halftime and took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter. A shift in defensive strategy over the last eight minutes helped the Warriors beat Sage Ridge (0-7, 0-6) going away.

“Our full-court press wasn’t working as well, so we went to a half-court trap and that worked pretty good,” Esposito said. “We had a lot of turnovers, and that enabled us to pull away.”

Anchored by its defensive trap, Whittell outscored the Scorpions 21-3 in the fourth quarter en route to a 27-point win. The victory keeps the Warriors two games out of playoff position.

“If we continue to improve, we’re going to be OK,” Esposito said. “We just have to go back to the drawing board and see if we can keep getting better.”

Whittell had three players in double figures against Sage Ridge, led by sophomore Kaitlyn Kjer’s 16-point effort. Junior Samantha Forvilly scored 12 and senior Kelsey Kjer finished with 10 — freshman Brianna Johns added seven.

“Our scoring balanced out a little better,” Esposito said.

On Friday night, Jan. 15, Whittell lost at home to Mineral County 44-26. The Warriors fell flat after halftime, allowing the Serpents rolled to their first victory in league play.

“It wasn’t one of our best games,” Esposito said. “We hung with them in the first half and then the wheels fell off — we were struggling.”

Whittell trailed 10-3 after the first quarter, but turned it around to pull within one point by halftime. A layup from Kaitlyn Kjer with 43 seconds left in the first half made it 18-17 — but after the break, the Warriors simply went cold.

The Warriors managed one point in the third quarter — a free throw from Kaitlyn Kjer — and went most of the fourth quarter without a field goal. By the time the sophomore made a layup late in the fourth quarter to end a stretch of 15 minutes without a field goal, Mineral County had a 20-point lead.

Whittell returns to action at home Thursday, Jan. 21, against Sage Ridge. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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