The White Pine High girls varsity basketball team put it on the line last Friday at Battle Mountain. And when it was over and done with the Longhorns had won the game, 64-59, and taken the lead in the 2A Northern league just days before the playoffs begin.
The loss also broke White Pine’s school record 20-game win streak.
Coach Justin Locke said, “It was turnovers that was the key for us. We had 28 of them, and Battle Mountain (19-5, 12-1) got a lot of transition points out of those turnovers. I have to credit the Longhorns for getting us in a hurry, pressuring the ball and being really aggressive. The refs were letting both teams play. We just haven’t faced that style of play all year. That was definitely the tale of the tape for the game. We just didn’t take care of the ball well enough.”Madison Rick led White Pine with 18 points, Eva Kingston had 16 and Brittany Kingston added 12.
It was quite a change from the first game in Ely Jan. 6, when the Lady Bobcats won 40-22 when the Longhorns scored only twice in each of the final three periods.
Locke said it was “a really great game for the fans to watch, an offensive explosion.” The 64 points are the most White Pine has allowed all season.
White Pine had a 28-23 lead at halftime. Everything was close until the fourth quarter when Battle Mountain had a 9-2 run to take at 52-45 lead. They pushed it to a nine-point lead soon after and in the final minute allowed the Bobcat girls just one three point basket.
The girls rebounded well the next night, Locke said, a pickup non-league game at Eureka. Locke admitted both teams were tired from tough games the day before, “but we prevailed over the Vandals 53-40.” Haley Ernest had 17 points and Rick 14. Morgan Thomas was tops for Eureka with 10. It was the fourth straight win over their closest neighbors to the west.
This week, the Ladycats (21-1, 11-1) have three games in five days. Tuesday against West Wendover, then at Pershing County (18-4, 8-4) on Friday and close out the season Saturday with a non-league meeting with 1A Southern league leader Pahranagat Valley (16-3). With a three-game lead over Pershing County and only two games to go, White Pine will be the No. 2 seed into the league tournament and a berth into the semifinals Feb. 16 in Elko.
On the boys side, the Bobcats also lost at Battle Mountain 68-45. They also played at West Wendover on Tuesday and travel to Pershing County on Friday and host Pahranagat Valley on Saturday.