WHS girls blow out Silver Stage, secure No. 3 seed
ZEPHYR COVE – Whittell senior guard Tara Scaduto won’t lie. She wanted the Warriors to be playing like this a month ago.
But after her career-high 17 points on Tuesday helped Whittell beat Silver Stage 64-41, Scaduto said she’ll take these Whittell Warriors any day of the week.
“I would have rather been peaking a little while ago,” Scaduto said. “I think in the next week we can still make some improvements, but this was the best I’ve seen our team play. I just want to keep it going.”
With the win, the Warriors clinched the No. 3 seed at next week’s Northern 2A Regional Tournament. They will play second-seeded Lovelock in the semifinals at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, at the Winnemucca Indoor Events Center, with the winner qualifying for the 2A state tournament.
Whittell (16-7 overall, 4-4 league) lost to Lovelock 61-60 in last year’s zone semifinals and missed qualifying for the state tournament. In 2004, the Warriors again lost to Lovelock in the semifinals and watched the Mustangs advance to state at their expense.
“Every year I’ve been here it seems we get a little closer to making state,” said Scaduto, a senior guard. “It would be nice to win a zone title and hang a banner in the gym, but I think making state is the most important thing right now.”
Scaduto and the Warriors certainly played with that mind-set against Silver Stage.
A loss against the Nighthawks and Whittell would’ve been the No. 4 seed at zone. The Warriors then would’ve had to play two-time defending league champion Battle Mountain in the zone semifinals.
So after a relatively lackluster first half, the Warriors decided to score a season-high 42 points in the second half and outscore Silver Stage 32-12 in the game’s final 10 minutes. After the Nighthawks’ Cherry Davis made it 32-29 with 2:16 left in the third quarter, Jessica Woods and Scaduto led Whittell on a 13-0 run and put the game out of reach.
Woods scored eight of her 17 points in the run, including a four-point play after she was fouled on a 3-pointer. Scaduto scored four of her points in the run and her layup with 3:02 left in the game gave the Warriors a 50-33 advantage.
In her first significant playing time since having jaw surgery, Kelly Karmann finished with eight points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Megan Esquivel contributed nine points.
Quite simply, it was a tale of two halves for Whittell.
The Warriors led 22-17 at halftime and leading scorer Katrina Kacirek had only one point. While Kacirek was held to a season-low one point for the game, the rest of the team stepped up in the second half, shooting 46 percent from the field (14 of 30) and forcing 11 turnovers.
“They were keying on Katrina and that can be frustrating,” said WHS coach Nathan Tolbert. “But I told the girls at halftime that Silver Stage knows they can’t beat Battle Mountain. They didn’t want to lose this game and have to play them in the playoffs.
“And I told them if we gave them a glimmer of hope, they would latch onto that and it could hurt us. The way we played in the second half, that was the best we’ve played all season.”
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