Whittell girls b-ball outlasts Sierra Lutheran in 2OT thriller
ZEPHYR COVE — The Whittell girls basketball team picked up its first league victory on Tuesday night — and did so in dramatic fashion. The Warriors beat visiting Sierra Lutheran 40-37 in double overtime, getting a go-ahead three-pointer from guard Daria Sharon to outlast the Falcons.
“The crowd was wild and it was pretty exciting — both teams were fired up and working their tails off,” Warriors head coach Tom Esposito said. “It could have went either way — it was a close game all the way.”
Whittell (3-8, 1-2 IV West) had a chance to win Tuesday night’s game in regulation, but missed a pair of potential game-winning free throws. In overtime, the Warriors needed a buzzer-beating shot to keep their hopes of victory alive.
The Warriors trailed Sierra Lutheran (3-8, 1-1) by two in the closing seconds of overtime before guard Ali Copsy made a stellar play to tie the game. Copsy stole a Falcons’ pass and took the ball the length of the court, converting a layup just before time expired to pull Whittell even and force a second overtime period.
“The clock was down to one second when the ball left her hands — it was so close,” Esposito said. “She was watching the clock and she knew the score, so she timed it pretty well.
“If she didn’t run through that passing lane, it would have been over.”
Whittell outscored Sierra Lutheran 5-2 in double overtime, with Sharon providing the decisive points from beyond the arc. The junior led the Warriors with 13 points, helping the team end a seven-game losing streak.
“It was a huge win for us,” Esposito said. “We were getting pretty well down — we haven’t had a win for quite a while, so that was a welcomed result.”
The Warriors trailed Sierra Lutheran by four at the end of the first quarter, and rallied to make it 18-18 at halftime. The Falcons scored the first seven points of the second half, but Whittell erased that deficit with a full-court press and trailed 27-25 after three quarters — the Warriors outscored Sierra Lutheran 7-5 in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
“The effort on everybody’s part was great — we played five full quarters and they were tired, but they dug down,” Esposito said. “Seeing them being able to pull it out and withstand the pressure was a good sight.”
Before the holiday break, the Warriors suffered a pair of losses to open league play. Whittell was forced to forfeit its game at Pyramid Lake on Dec. 19 after the team bus got lost, and fell at home the following day to Coleville 29-22.
Whittell returns to action Friday night, when they resume league play on the road against Smith Valley at 6 p.m. The Warriors host Excel Christian Saturday at 2 p.m.
“We learned a valuable lesson in this game, and we’ll see how it rolls over to the rest of the season,” Esposito said. “We have a couple tough games ahead.”
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