Whittell girls b-ball comes up short in season debut, falls to Silver Stage 50-49
ZEPHYR COVE — In its season opener, the Whittell girls basketball team battled throughout a back-and-forth contest. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they came up just short.
Whittell lost to Silver Stage (Silver Springs, Nev.) 50-49 at home Tuesday night in its first game under new head coach Robin Caires. Warriors sophomore Brianna Johns missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with four seconds left, allowing the Nighthawks to prevail.
In a game that was close throughout, Whittell (0-1) led for a total of 12 seconds in the second quarter. The Warriors shook a slow start to pull within a possession by the end of the opening frame, making it 13-10 on a bank shot from Johns.
The Warriors’ only lead of the game came on a bank shot from senior Samantha Forvilly that made it 16-14 with 4:17 left in the second quarter. Silver Stage (1-0) responded with six straight points, and took a 23-20 lead into halftime.
Whittell trailed by two at the start of the fourth quarter, and made it 37-37 with 5:53 to play on a free throw from senior Ali Copsy. The game was tied 41-41 with just more than three minutes to play when Silver Stage junior Sally Elderkin hit threes on consecutive possessions — giving the visitors a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
Silver Stage opened up a 50-43 lead before Whittell rallied with six unanswered points in the last 1:06. Trailing by three, the Warriors inbounded the ball underneath their own basket with 11 seconds and ultimately set up a good look for Johns from the outside — but the shot drew iron and the hosts’ comeback attempt fell short.
Forvilly led Whittell with a game-high 22 points in defeat, including 14 in the second half. Copsy also finished in double figures with 15 points, and Johns added six — the three starters accounted for all but six of the Warriors’ points Tuesday night.
The Nighthawks had three players score in double digits, including 12 points apiece from Elderkin and senior Destinee Espinoza. Junior Dominique Connolly added 10 for Silver Stage, who plays in Class 2A.
The Warriors return eight players from last year’s team — their three leading scorers from Tuesday along with senior Michelle Barnes, juniors Kaitlyn Kjer and Jannia Castro, and sophomores Madison Burch and Shaylie Rippet. Whittell’s varsity newcomers include senior Eva Fuller, junior Tamani Hussey and sophomore Aya Gaiser.
Caires takes over Whittell’s program this season, replacing Tom Esposito after eight years at the helm. The Warriors are looking to end a drought of nine straight seasons with a losing record, including an 8-17 mark last year.
Whittell returns to action Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Serpent Classic held at Mineral County High (Hawthorne, Nev.) for the first of five games in three days. The Warriors will host their annual tournament starting next Wednesday, Dec. 7 — and tip things off against Incline (Incline Village, Nev.) that night at 6 p.m.