Sierra Lutheran boys knocked out of playoffs
All week long, Sierra Lutheran boys basketball coach Ben Walther wondered whether he would have the services of top scorer Zane Warkentin.
The coach said Warkentin, a junior, had been feeling strange all week. It turns out Warkentin had mono.
Warkentin watched helplessly from the bench, as the Falcons’ season ended with a 63-51 loss to McDermitt on Thursday in a Northern 1A Regional Championship quarterfinal game at North Valleys High School in Reno.
Certainly in a 12-point loss, Warkentin was sorely missed.
“We found out today,” Walther said moments after the game ended. “He missed practice all week. We look to him for handling the ball and taking control (of the offense). We are pretty well balanced offensively. We talked a lot about next man up.”
Brett Walker stepped up and scored 13 and Kyman Berger added 11, but there wasn’t enough complementary help.
And, it wasn’t enough to withstand a 12-3 run by the Bulldogs in a 3-minute span of the fourth quarter. The surge turned Sierra Lutheran’s 42-36 deficit into a 52-39 deficit with less than four minutes left.
In that span, Sierra Lutheran went 0-for-3 from the field and turned the ball over two other times — five empty possessions.
Duane Horse started the McDermitt surge with a driving layup, and following a Falcon turnover, Diego Navarro scored on a drive to the basket. After a turnover and missed shot by Luke Bonafede, Navarro drained a rainbow 3-pointer with 5:04 left to make it 47-36. Cuay Crutcher made it 49-36, and after Sierra Lutheran missed again from the field, Navarro knocked in another 3-pointer to complete the surge.
Navarro scored 16 of his game-high 23 in the second half, including 11 in the final period when the Bulldogs broke open the game.
The Falcons did close to 58-51 with a 7-0 run over a 44-second span. Berger drained a 3-pointer and Walker scored twice. McDermitt scored the final five points of the game, three coming on a howitzer from Navarro.
“This doesn’t diminish what we did this year,” Walther said of his 19-7 team. “I’m proud of the boys. We lost our best on-the-ball defender, Nathan Waite, during Christmas, so we were without him three-quarters of the season. Other guys stepped up. I thought we did a good job of coming together this season.”
It was a case of too much Precious Masters. The talented junior poured in 30 points to lead McDermitt to a 59-18 win over the Falcons on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Northern 1A Regional Championships at North Valleys.
The game was never in doubt after McDermitt, the top seed out of the East, ran off 13 straight points to start the second half en route to a 27-6 lead. The game was played with a running clock for the final 11-minutes, 42-seconds.
Masters had 19 of her points in the first 16 minutes for the Western 1A division champion Bulldogs.
Amanda Almeida led Sierra Lutheran with six points and Taylor Davison added four.