Ely Times Staff Writer
After losing to Pershing County by 23 points in January, the White Pine High boys basketball team had something to prove. When they met again on the Bobcats home court on Friday, they were not the same team they were in January.
The Bobcats beat the Mustangs 69-50 in a physical rout that coach Paul Johnson said was one of his team’s best performances all season. What started as a close game through the first quarter, the Bobcats went on a 17-3 run for the entirety of the second quarter to into halftime with a 32-15 lead.
“Basketball is a game of streaks,” Johnson said. “What we did a really a good job in this game, which was one of our best games, was that we had very few turnovers.”
While the usual stars played well, Nick Johnson had 20 points and Seth Lester had 11, it was the aggressive play by Chris Young, who finished the game with 14 points off the bench, that helped the Bobcats blow the game wide open.
Johnson called Young, who’s the son of White Pine High School’s Principle Adam Young, one of the “hardest workers on the team” and he was happy to see him come up with a big performance.
Young attributed some of his transition points to the work the team has been putting in between games to up their tempo running the court.
“In practice we’ve worked a lot on fast breaks, so I was trying to get to the corner quickly for an open shot,” Young said.
The game saw three technical fouls, the first of which was called on the student body. The second and third were called simultaneously after a fight almost broke out between Dallas Setterstrom and a Pershing County player after Setterstrom’s hard foul caused the opposing player to throw the ball at him.
Though the unusually high number of fouls and free throws didn’t end up hurting the Bobcats, it did get one White Pine fan riled up enough to get ejected.
The Bobcats continued their strong play against another team they lost to earlier in the season, Battle Mountain. The 79-62 win at home Saturday saw another big performance by Young, who scored 17 points. Seth Lester led the team with 22 points and Nick Johnson contributed 19.
The back-to-back wins bumped the Bobcats into third place in their division. They will play their last regular season game at home on Saturday against Silver State Academy. The two teams last met on Dec. 21 when the Bobcats won 53-43.