Whittell wins 3 games in 4 days, but lose top scorer Wade to injury
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Whittell won three basketball games in four days to start the New Year, but may have suffered a big loss during the stretch.
The Warriors smashed Excel Christian 61-19 Wednesday, Jan. 8, in a West League clash and beat Smith Valley 59-56 the next day, both games were at home.
They went on the road Saturday and beat Coleville 62-52 in a non-league battle, but lost super scorer Dylan Wade to an injury in the victory.
The injury will likely keep Wade out three weeks, and possibly the rest of the season.
The win over league foe Excel Christian was a victory of speed over height.
The much taller Excel, also the Warriors, feature a front line of 6-foot-5, 6-4, 6-4 but they couldn’t handle the speed of the four guard press defense of Wade, Zack Johns, Jack White and Malachi Womack.
Johns scored 12 of his game-high 31 points in the first quarter and had 23 by halftime.
Wade chipped in 12 as Warrior backups played most of the second half.
The Smith Valley game was a much different story as the Warriors fell behind by nine in the first half, mostly as a result of a 3-point second quarter.
Whittell outscored Excel 21-16 in the third quarter and got game-winning plays from other players than the usual suspects.
Troy Dingman had eight points in the quarter and Zack Kerho came off the bench to hit a pair of 3s.
“It was the fourth quarter that made the difference as the two smallest players on our team came up big,” said Whittell head coach Phil Bryant. “That was all we got except for a Wade 3. The Kerho move was a gamble that paid off big. He hasn’t played much but he can shoot so I told him to go in and hit some 3s and he did. He and Dingman were huge as we held on for the win.”
Whittell was down by four at halftime against Coleville, but outscored the Wolves 32-18 in the second half.
Dingman started and hit four 3-pointers to go with Wade’s three first half triples to keep the Warriors close.
When Wade went down early in the third period, it was again Kerho who filled the gap and hit another three 3s to spark Whittell.
Johns had 13, freshman James Johnson added seven and Womack had six.
“It’s going to be a tough road for us without Dylan but we have to survive his absence,” Bryant said. “It is a tough loss because Dylan is a senior and works as hard as anyone to be the best he can. We will move forward and it is an opportunity for Jack White, Kerho, Johnson and Jude Stackpole to step up. We need to get more out of Kyle Davis who works hard but hasn’t transferred his skill set from practice to games.
“We have some tough league games coming up with preseason league favorite Sierra Lutheran, Pyramid Lake, Sage Ridge and Virginia City coming up,” added Bryant. “If we can get a couple of those wins, we could still make the playoffs. I’m a believer so it’s just keep working, have fun and play hard.”
The Warriors hosted Sierra Lutheran Tuesday and play Friday at Pyramid Lake.