By Tylar Laity
White Pine girls basketball coach
For the third year in a row, the White Pine High girls basketball team will be one of the final four teams to play in their division at the NIAA State Tournament.
This weekend White Pine will play at 8:15 p.m. against Agassi Prep, the other side of the bracket will be Pershing County vs Needles, the games will be held in Las Vegas at Del Sol High School (Friday) and the Cox Pavilion Center (Saturday at 2:40 p.m.).
“This was one of our goals, to make it to the state tournament again, now we need to go do our jobs and play together,” saidJenna Gubler.
The road to a state tournament is never an easy one and to be one of the final four teams after playing and practicing for over three months is a great accomplishment in itself.
The Ladycats played last weekend in the division tournament against Incline on Friday night in a game that would finish very close.
The Highlanders came out quick in the first quarter with offensive star Taylor Redfern hitting her shots from beyond the 3 point line and were up 16 to 11.
In the second quarter, a couple of seniors, Jenna Gubler and Mikinley Prengel from White Pine, would step up though.
“I could tell with the way they were playing that quarter they did not want this to be their last game as Ladycats.” said Coach Tylar Laity.
Putting their team on their back these two captains would help the Cats go on a run and outscore Incline 18-8 in the quarter.
Going in to the half, White Pine was up 29-24 and would not look back after that, although the game did get close in the second half.
The third quarter was full of turnovers and missed shots for both teams resulting in a 7-5 score in that quarter in favor of the Ladycats.
The final 8 minutes was full of drama and suspense as Incline would come out and hit some big 3’s to close the gap to 3.
“We knew that we just had to stop Redfern, she was kililng us with her 3’s and kept closing the gap.”said Haylee Andre.
The Highlanders would start fouling the Cats sending them to the line 10 times in the fourth quarter alone, but White Pine would only make 2, but those two by Hailey Ernerst were huge in the last seconds to give the Cats a lead of 4.
With the final buzzer going off the Ladycats won 46-42 and advance to the Saturdays divisional championship game against Pershing. The lost that game, 42-38.
On Saturday the Cats would come out strong in the first quarter going on a 8-0 run to start the game with some key jumpshots from various players before a timeout was taken by Pershing. The
Mustangs and Bobcats would put in a couple of baskets before the quarter ended with a score of 11-4 in favor of White Pine.
In the second quarter both teams qould have their fair share of fast breaks and making jumpshots sending the Ladycats into half with a 9 point lead.
After half Pershing would come out on fire though, hitting a couple of 3s on their first two possessions and then creating a three point play on a foul.
“We came out so flat after half, not talking on defense and wasting opportunities on offense with unforced turnovers, it gave them a lot of momentum and in basketball that is everything.” said coach Locke.
Entering the final quarter Pershing was up 23-22 but the Cats struck first and reclaimed the lead, from there the game would switch back and forth. Entering the final three minutes the madness began with a flagrant foul called on Mikinley Prengel after a jump ball, Pershing would put both free throws in to tie the game.
The Ladycats got a big basket from Britney Kingston and drew the foul, but missed her free throw. On the other end Pershing would turn the ball over to only have the Cats break the press and turn it over themselves. With under a minute left the Mustangs hit a jump shot to tie the game and the Ladycats took a timeout.
“We drew up a play to hold the ball for the last shot, but when the girls came out they almost turned the ball over and then panic set in, we shot a 3 with over 20 seconds left, not the shot we were looking for.” Laity said.
The game would end up going into overtime.