Whittell Warriors ride win-streak into postseason
The Whittell Warriors boys’ basketball team finished the regular season with a pair of wins Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10, and head into postseason with five consecutive victories.
The Warriors defeated Coleville 73-18 Friday and dominated rival Virginia City 59-34 the next day to earn the No. 2 seed from the Western League. They will play Eureka in the quarterfinals of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 1A Northern Region Boy’s Basketball Championships at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Wooster High School in Reno.
The Warriors jumped on their opponents on both ends of the floor and cruised in the second half.
“We started fast in both games by getting turnovers and easy baskets,” said Warriors head coach Phil Bryant. “Our defense was outstanding. We took our foot off the gas in the second half of both games and I felt we got a little complacent in doing that. We are a pressing/running team but there is no need to do that when we are up big on opponents. We wouldn’t want it done to us in that manner so it’s an easy decision to back off.”
Against Coleville, the Warriors surrendered just 11 first-half points while jumping out to a big lead.
Genaro Mena had a game-high 20 points while Trent Dingman added 15 and Troy Libert added 20 points, six rebounds, five blocks and four steals.
Also for the Warriors, Connor Huber had nine points and four steals and Isaiah Womack had eight points and four assists.
Against Virginia City, Dingman led all scorers with 20 points while Mena added 15, including three 3-pointers.
Also for Whittell, Corey Huber scored nine points on three shots from long range, Nic Buchholz scored five points, grabbed nine boards and made three blocks, Libert hauled in nine rebounds and made six blocks.
Whittell led 20-5 after the first quarter and were up 37-12 at halftime.
“All the guys are playing well right now, especially Genaro, Nic and Trent on the offensive end,” Bryant said. “We are fortunate because we have seven guys who could all be starters and they accept whatever role they are given in any game. As an example, we have Nic and Troy who fill very different roles for us and either can start. Troy is a defensive presence with his shot blocking and altering length while Nic fits in a little better on the offensive end of the floor. They both would prefer to start but it’s more important to understand what the team needs at any given time as to who starts.”
The Warriors (23-3, 14-2 Western) now will make a run for their second state title in three seasons. They will play a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal against Eureka in which Whittell prevailed 52-50.
“Eureka is a patient, physical team and wants to control tempo in a much different way than we do,” Bryant said. “They are well drilled in that aspect of play and their physical size is different than what we normally see. It’s not that they are tall but they are strong kids who can knock people around and use that to their advantage. It’s one and done now so we have to be ready and have no excuses.”