Muckers hunting for first girls state title
Virginia City’s girls basketball team did very little celebrating after topping McDermitt to win the Northern 1A title for the second consecutive season.
“I told them I would take them out to a nice dinner,” Virginia City coach Todd Hess said. “They chose McDonalds so they could get back home and get to work. They treated it like a business trip.”
That’s because the Muckers have bigger things on their mind, namely the first girls state championship in school history.
Virginia City, which lost in the state semifinals last year, opens the state tournament at 6:20 p.m. today at North Valleys High School against Lake Mead, the No. 2 seed from Southern Nevada. The winner advances to the state finals at 3:20 p.m. Saturday at Lawlor Events Center.
“It (a state title) is all we could think about since we clinched it,” said senior Gigi Glogovac, who leads the Muckers in scoring at 20 points a game. “A lot of people asked why we weren’t happy. We’re happy, but we have hopefully two more games we need to focus on. We were happy, we just weren’t celebrating.”
The Muckers are going up against a team that has lost just four times this year, twice to Southern Nevada No. 1 seed Pahranagat Valley, which faces McDermitt at 3 p.m. in the other semifinal game.
Lake Mead, which has never been to a state tournament, starts two sophomores and a freshman. The school put together a 17-game win streak at one point this season.
“I’ve never seen them play live, but we have watched some film,” Glogovac said. “They are really quick and play transition basketball. This might turn into a track meet. The key will not be turning the ball over a lot.”
“They are all about 5-7 or 5-8 with a lot of strength,” Hess said. “They have any number of shooters who can beat you. I know what we want to do. We feel good about playing in Reno. We’ll have a good crowd.”
Lake Mead is led by sophomore guard Jordan Clarke, who averages 13.5 a game, Forward/guard Emily Dean, also a sophomore, is averaging 12.8 a contest. Freshman Taylor Badua-Kono averages 6.8 points and 2.4 steals a game and senior point guard Jocelyn Cox averages 6.6 points and 9.0 rebounds a game with center Sam Herman averaging 5.9 points and 7.7 rebounds a game. Clarke is the main outside threat with 30 3-pointers, while Badua-Kona threw in 19 from beyond the arc. The duo accounted for 49 of the 54 3-pointers this season.
“We’ve played together since the fourth grade,” Clarke told the Review Journal in Las Vegas last weekend. “To finally get to this point, it’s just amazing.”
For Virginia City, it would be amazing to get that first-ever title. The boys have won 17 of them and put the tiny school on the map.
The Muckers have plenty of firepower besides Glogovac. Alexa Ballinger is the second-leading scorer at 10.8. Taylor Parsons and Jessi Bailey scored in double figures several times during the season. Jill Dupre is a defensive minded player, who may find herself matched against Dean or Clarke.
Virginia City will be without one of its top reserves this weekend. Micah Blakely broke her hand and will be unavailable.
“We’re definitely looking for strong contributions off the bench,” Hess said. “We need them to step up in these games.”