Lady Bighorns squeak by Falcons, almost upset Mineral County | NevadaAppeal.com

Lady Bighorns squeak by Falcons, almost upset Mineral County

Staff report
Oasis Academy’s Brooklynn Whitaker goes up for the loose ball in the first half of Saturday’s game against Mineral County.
Thomas Ranson

The final 60 seconds of regulation was the difference between Sierra Lutheran girls basketball and Oasis Academy Thursday night.

The Falcons had their chance after a go-ahead basket from Ava Mellum gave Sierra Lutheran a 42-41 edge with 55 seconds remaining, but the Bighorns closed with two buckets of their own for a 45-42 win.

Oasis Academy’s Brooklynn Whitaker sank a putback basket to retake the lead at 43-42 before the Bighorns got out in transition for the final basket.

Sierra Lutheran had a one-and-one chance at the free throw line with 36.9 seconds to play, but missed the front end.

Sierra Lutheran played from behind nearly the length of the game after taking an early 6-2 lead, but never fell out of striking range.

To start the fourth, the Falcons trailed 33-27 after the Bighorns earned three points the hard way off an and-one opportunity.

Jaden Spotts tallied a bucket on the other end to cut the gap to four at 33-29 before Madison Castro knocked down a free throw to make it a one possession game.

Oasis Academy pushed out to a 37-32 lead after two baskets and a pair of free throws midway through the final quarter.

It was Mellum who once again showed her talents with a pair of putback scores on consecutive possessions to bring Sierra Lutheran within one, 37-36.

The sophomore guard had a game-high 24 points for Sierra Lutheran.

Spotts gave the Falcons their first lead since the first quarter after draining a pair of shots from the charity stripe, but the Bighorns once again found an answer on the other end.

Whitaker found some space in the lane and buried a layup after an interior pass from Sadie O’Flaherty. Whitaker ended the night with 20 points for Oasis Academy.

Two days later, the Bighorns nearly upset last year’s state champions.

After getting to within two points in the third quarter, Oasis Academy saw Mineral County go on a run to extend the deficit into double digits as the Serpents held on for a 52-43 win on Saturday at the city-county gym.