By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
The White Pine High boys basketball team’s season kicked off Dec. 5 at the Quincy High School Tip-Off Classic in Quincy, Calif.
The Bobcats won two out of the three games at the tournament, with their sole loss coming to Dixon High School.
The team continued on to the Whittell Winter Tournament at South Lake Tahoe, winning three out of five games. Coach Paul Johnson called the back-to-back road trips “exhausting” but thought the team’s performance on the court showed promise.
“The boys did well. We beat the teams we were supposed to beat,” Johnson said. “We are starting our season with a grueling road trip. It is tough to determine the impact the travel has on our play, but we don’t want to make any excuses. They are going to be a good basketball team.”
One standout from the first eight games has been Nick Johnson, who led the team in scoring in every game with an average of 21.75 points per game.
Johnson scored 29 points in the Bobcats 74-55 win over tournament home team Whittell High school. He also contributed 23 points in the Bobcats blowout 80-39 win over Portola, which coach Johnson said was the team’s best game of the weekend.
Both tournaments were pre-conference, but the Bobcats did get to preview some teams they will see again when conference play begins.
White Pine lost to Incline 72-54 on Dec. 13. Coach Johnson called Incline a “talented, well-disciplined and well-coached team” and said the Bobcats did not play with the type of confidence required to beat a tough team.
Yerington beat White Pine 69-59 on Dec. 14. Starters Ty Pickel and Seth Lester missed the game to take their ACT tests, but the shorthanded Bobcats were only down one at halftime.
Johnson said the team gave a “tremendous effort” but poor shot selection led to transition buckets for the Lions.
“We are still making some early season mistakes. The team has to trust that if then run their offense with discipline they will have the opportunity to score,” Johnson said.
Johnson felt the Bobcats could have beat Yerington even without their starters. They will get another chance when the two teams meet again in Yerginton, Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Whittell Invitational Tournament
at South Lake Tahoe
Dec. 14: White Pine 59 Yerington 69
White Pine 70 Lee Vining 39
Dec. 13: White Pine 54 Mammoth 32
White Pine 54 Incline 72
Dec. 12: White Pine 74 Whittell 55
Quincy High School Tip-Off Classic
at Quincy, Calif.
Dec. 7: White Pine 80 Portola 38
Dec. 6: White Pine 63 Quincy 59
Dec. 5: White Pine 60 Dixon 73