Whittell wins big over Excel, Smith Valley
The Whittell Warriors boys’ basketball team finished last week strong, roaring past two opponents in two days and paving the way toward a possible No. 2 seed in the 1A Western League.
The Warriors crunched Excel Christian 81-22 Friday, Feb. 2, in Zephyr Cove and bounced Smith Valley 81-36 the next day on the road.
Whittell played almost the perfect opening quarter Friday, on senior night, storming out to a 28-0 lead.
“We got ahead so quickly we were able to get everyone in the game and work on some defensive changes we had been looking to make,” said Warriors head coach Phil Bryant. “We also pulled the press off and focused on defensive rebounding and controlling the offensive players.”
The Warriors buried Excel with long-range shots, draining 15 from 3-point range.
Trent Dingman led the Warriors with 19 points while Corey Huber added 17 and Genaro Mena had 15. Dingman hit three 3s and Huber and Mena each canned five.
“We shot very well and moved the ball well on offense,” Bryant said. “And for the first time this year we started an all-senior lineup.”
The Warriors started fast again the next day, though they weren’t quite as hot. Whittell jumped out to a 20-10 lead after the first quarter and had the game put away by halftime, 52-22.
“We got out of the press early and again were able to work on small details to help us down the road,” Bryant said.
The Warriors again reached double digits from long range, sinking 10 from beyond the arc.
Dingman had 21 points and Huber added 16 in about 16 minutes of playing time for each. Huber hit four 3s, Mena had three, Dingman two and Jack White had one.
Nic Buchholz added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Warriors (21-3, 12-2 Western) have won seven of their last eight and have two games remaining: Friday, Feb. 9, at Coleville (1-12 Western) and Saturday, Feb. 10, at Virginia City (9-5 Western).
Whittell is one game behind Mineral County (13-1 Western) and would be the No. 2 seed from the Western League if the NIAA Northern Region Championships started today.
The playoffs are Thursday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, Feb. 17, at North Valleys and Wooster high schools in Reno.
“We seem to be hitting stride at a great time that is always good to feel,” Bryant said.