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Whittell JV boys b-ball caps unbeaten season

Anthony Gentile
agentile@tahoedailytribune.com
Whittell junior varsity guard Sam Berry goes up for a shot over two Virginia City defenders in the Warriors’ 46-30 win over the Muckers last Friday.
Courtesy Boyd Dangtongdee |

During the 2014-15 season, the Whittell junior varsity boys basketball team passed every test it faced on the hardwood. The Warriors finished undefeated in 16 games, capping an unbeaten campaign with wins over Virginia City and Sierra Lutheran last weekend.

“They have really come together over the year and made tremendous progress,” Warriors JV head coach Matt Bryant said.

Whittell has transformed into a small school powerhouse on the hardwood over the past three seasons, and the success of this year’s junior varsity is part of that process. The Bryant father-son coaching tandem planned for success when it arrived in Zephyr Cove — and has done so in quick fashion.

“The basketball program is way ahead of schedule for where we hoped to be at this point,” Bryant said. “We owe it to the players’ work ethic and buy-in, and the tremendous support we get from the students, parents and fans — we love it at Whittell.”

In its season finale last Saturday, Whittell capped its undefeated campaign with a 41-24 win at Sierra Lutheran. The Warriors overcame a slow first half and took care of the Falcons after break to win their 16th straight contest.

“Coach Matt Bryant was in everyone’s ear about what an accomplishment would be for them to finish undefeated — and the players responded,” Warriors varsity head coach Phil Bryant said.

Whittell led 24-16 at halftime, and outscored Sierra Lutheran 16-8 after the break for a comfortable win. The Warriors’ won the first meeting between the teams by two points.

Forward Caleb Moretti scored a game-high 21 points in the win. Guard Nick Buchholz added seven points, while guards Genaro Mena and Sam Berry added six apiece.

A night earlier, the Warriors beat Virginia City 46-30 to win their home finale. A huge third quarter lifted Whittell past the Muckers and kept their unbeaten run alive.

Whittell had a 21-19 lead at halftime, and blanked Virginia City 17-0 in the third quarter to take control of the game. Berry, who finished with a team-high 14 points, provided a spark during this stretch, hitting a couple of key three-pointers and converting transition opportunities.

“It was defensive pressure and fast break opportunities that made the difference,” Phil Bryant said.

Moretti and Buchholz also finished in double figures for the Warriors against Virginia City. Each player scored 12 points.

Whittell entered the season with talent, and turned the campaign into a memorable one with teamwork and continued development. As important as the results were, the constant improvement of the team will have a greater importance in the future.

“We all enjoyed the undefeated season, but the real purpose of JV is to get better and these kids did that,” Bryant said. “The improvement was evident every time they took the floor.

“There is still a lot of work to do, so we will see which players will put in the time and effort to be the ones to fill the spots on varsity next season.”


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