By DAVE BELCHER
Moapa Valley Progress
Last week officially ended the NIAA winter sport season as both the state basketball and flag football tournaments crowned their respective champions.
Boys 3A basketball
Four teams qualified for last weeks state tournament: Elko and Spring Creek from the north; Desert Pines, the defending state champion, and Cheyenne last years state runner-up.
Desert Pines played the second seed from the North, Spring Creek and beat the Spartans in the state semi-final game at Reno High School 60-43.
Desert Pines outscored the Spartans in every quarter to get the win. The Jaguars held a 18-14 lead to start the first quarter then built a 30-21 lead by halftime. It was 40-29 by the end of the third quarter. The pace picked up in the fourth as the Jaguars put the Spartans away with a 20-14 run.
Freshman Deshawn Wiley led the Jaguars with 15 points. Darnell Washington scored 12 for the Jaguars as they advanced for the fourth consecutive state title game.
Spring Creek was led by Levi Yaunick who also led everyone with 18-points. Spring Creek finished its season with a 17-12 record.
In the other side of the semifinals, Cheyenne played the first seed from the north: Elko. The Desert Storm beat the Indians 57-53.
The game was fast, up and down the floor, until the fourth quarter when the Indians slowed the game down. They fed the center Jeron Yopps the ball. Yopps rolled in some baskets from the low post. He finished with 16-points. Alex Klekas lead the Indians with 18-points.
Down a bucket in the final 1:13 to play, Ke’Shawn Hall made a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Desert Storm the lead. He then made two free throws in the final seconds to ice the win and send the Desert Storm into the state title game.
Elko has been eliminated in the last four state tournaments.
The state final was a rematch from last year. When it finished Desert Pines needed overtime to get the win.
The Jaguars used their tough 2-3 zone defense to slow the pace. But they trailed at halftime 23-19 after the Desert Storm used three 3-pointers to get some separation.
The third quarter witnessed a Kavon Williams show for Cheyenne. He forced the Jaguars out of the zone with a 9-point run of his own, giving the Desert Storm an 8-point lead.
The Jaguars defense stiffened and with some made shots from Darnell Washington at the low post, the Jaguars tied the game with 33 seconds remaining. It eventually went into overtime.
It was in that overtime session that the Desert Storm changed their strategy and used a stall to work time off the clock. It back-fired as Cheyenne did not score a point in the extra five minutes.
Darius Mitchell scored the field goal which was all that the Jaguars needed for the win. In the fourth quarter Cheyenne had gone cold with only six-points.
Desert Pines has won three state titles in the last six years. Clark High School had won the other three in the same six years.
Girls 3A basketball
Mojave and Virgin Valley travelled to Reno in hopes of upsetting the one and two seeds from the north. Churchill county and Lowry have dominated the 3A the last two years ever since Spring Valley and Faith Lutheran were moved to the 4A.
Virgin Valley got its shot at the defending state champion as they scored the first four-points of the game, then added just one basket to trail 7-6 after the first quarter.
Fallon then began the blow-out. They out-scored the Dawgs 14-5 in the second quarter for a 21-11 halftime lead.
Fallon then opened-up and scored 22-points in the third quarter. Their defense nearly shut the Dawgs out in that quarter. Virgin Valley was limited to a free throw and one point.
Fallon coasted the rest of the game for a 52-19 win over the Dawgs. No Virgin Valley player scored in double figures.
Sisters Leilani and Margret Otuafi lead the Green Wave with 18 and 12-points in the game.
The win gave the Green Wave a berth in the state championship game.
In the other state semi-final, the Mojave Rattlers played the Lowry Buckaroos and were beaten 72-38.
Even though the Rattlers had 38-points they couldn’t keep up with the up-tempo game the Buckaroos were playing.
Lowry came out with the hot hand as they drained seven three-point baskets in the first half . That helped to build a 22-point 35-13 lead by halftime.
Lowry was lead by Alyssa Kuskie who started the third quarter by making four more three-pointers to drive home the win. The Buckaroos beat the Rattlers in each quarter.
Kuskie finished with 23-points while Sydney Connors scored 16 points and Rebecca Kuskie added 11. Savannah Blanhard-Davis lead the Rattlers with 15 points, four of the baskets were three-pointers. Kiara Lemon scored 10-points.
In the final game, Fallon beat the Buckaroos 60-45 with steady play and determination. It was the second straight state title for Fallon who finished the season with a 25-3 record.
Other State Championships
In the 4A, Bishop Gorman beat Bishop Manouge in the Boys state final 62-41. Gorman beat Spanish Spring in the semi-final game 75-68. Manouge beat Canyon Spring 64-58 also in the semi-final round.
The Girls 4A had Centennial beat Liberty in overtime 74-65. Centennial beat Reno in the semi-finals 68-30, while Liberty beat McQueen 71-33.
In the 2A the White Pine girls beat Lincoln County 44-39 in overtime for the state championship. White Pine beat Needles 45-29 in the semi-finals while Lincoln County beat Battle Mountain 52-42.
The 2A boys had Democracy Prep win their third consecutive state championship as they beat Battle Mountain 72-48. Democracy Prep beat Lovelock in the semi-finals 74-52 in the state semi-finals. Battle Mountain beat Needles in double overtime 68-67 in the semi-finals.
In the 1A Spring Mountain won the boys state title with a 59-36 win over Mineral County. Spring Mountain beat Whittle in the state semi-finals 57-34. Mineral County beat Pahranagat Valley in an upset 61-57 in overtime.
Pahranagant Valley won the girls 1A state championship 58-43 over Wells in the state final. Pahranagant beat Eureka in the state semi-finals 51-42. Wells beat Round Mountain 47-26 in their state semi-final game.
3A Flag Football
The flag football state championship was won for the second straight year by the Cheyenne Desert Storm. They beat Virgin Valley for the second time in a row for the championship. This year the score was 20-6.
Virgin Valley scored first in the second quarter with a run by Nikita Eskelsen but could not convert the extra point.
After that it was all Cheyenne. Cheyenne sophomore quarterback E’leseana Patterson dominated on the ground. Virgin Valley would blitz one and Patterson would go the other way for big yards.
Patterson would score all three of Cheyenne’s touchdowns including a 35-yarder. When the Desert Shields needed a big play, it was Patterson who would step up with a big run.
Last year Cheyenne graduated fifteen girls from their team. They beat the Dawgs 7-0 last year.