Muckers take home first girls basketball title in school history
RENO – Tears of joy and hugs flowed freely around the Virginia City locker room.
Can you blame them?
Virginia City, riding the offense of Gigi Glogovac, Jill Dupre and Taylor Parsons, won the school’s first-ever state title with a resounding 49-28 victory over McDermitt in the 1A state finals Saturday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center.
The win capped off a tremendous 29-2 season, and more than wiped out the disappointment of losing in last year’s state semifinals.
“By far they are the hardest working team I’ve had the privilege of coaching,” Muckers coach Todd Hess said. “The girls set a goal last year of wanting to have a shot at a state title. This year they didn’t want to leave any doubt. I’m proud of them.”
Virginia City has always been known as a boys basketball powerhouse after winning 17 state titles. Now, the girls have contributed to the school’s legacy with a championship of their own.
“It feels so awesome,” said a red-faced Jessica Bailey, one of five seniors on the squad. “Since the boys won 17 titles we can be the first girls team to come back 50 years from now.”
“To be the first girls team to win a state championship at Virginia City, they’re pioneers,” Hess said.
Any doubt was erased by halftime when Virginia City had rolled to a 14-point halftime lead, 27-13. McDermitt coach Jaimi Wilkinson wanted a shot to avenge two earlier defeats to the Muckers, but her club was no match this time around.
Glogovac, who struggled early in the semifinal win over Lake Mead, was in a zone from the outset.
She scored Virginia City’s first eight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers. After a night where she had trouble getting touches, she was able to roam free quite often. She finished on 7-for-15 shooting, including 4-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I knew I needed to come out one last time (and get it done),” Glogovac said. “It’s a lot less frustrating when I get some open looks.”
Foul trouble, threatened to shorten Glogovac’s night. She picked up her third foul with 7 minutes, 51 seconds left and didn’t return until the third quarter. Also, teammate Alexa Ballinger was whistled for her third foul with 2:45 remaining.
As the Muckers have done all season, they were able to pick up the slack. Glogovac left with her team up 10 and the Muckers walked into the locker room with a 14-point halftime lead. McDermitt was an ice-cold 22 percent in the first half compared to 50 percent for the Muckers.
“I didn’t do a lot of talking at the half,” Hess said. “I let the girls do a lot of talking. Gigi got in foul trouble again, but we were able to build on the lead.”
Dupre, who finished with 14 points, scored six of those in the second quarter. Known more for her defense, Dupre averaged 12.5 points and 9.1 rebounds for the two-day tournament.
Dupre was by far the Muckers’ most physical player. She banged off of opposing players like a pinball, and she was able to maneuver her body through some small openings to get to the rim.
“Her nickname is ‘Electric,'” Hess said. “When she steps on the floor, you never know what you’re going to see. She makes plays that I’ve never seen other 1A players make.”
What Hess and the rest of the crowd at Lawlor Events Center saw was all positive. She helped ignite the Muckers all day.
“I’m pretty sure Todd gave me that name,” said Dupre, her face red from crying. “Even when I’m not playing basketball, I’m crazy. I don’t know how I do it (get my body in strange angles). I’m like Gumby. It works for me.
“This weekend was different than what I usually do.”
Dupre said when she came out of the locker room and saw the big Virginia City rooting section going crazy, she felt the game was under control. There wasn’t going to be a second-half letdown.
The pace slowed down considerably in the second half, however. Neither team scored in the first 3:50 of the second half.
But, the Muckers went on a 14-2 run to open up a 41-15 lead with 36.3 seconds left in the third.
Glogovac started the surge with a 3-pointer. After 6-foot-5 Becky Kershner scored on a layup for McDermitt, the Muckers scored the next 11 points. Glogovac added five more points, Dupre added two baskets and Parsons added a score.
It turned out to be a lost afternoon for the Bulldogs and Wilkinson.
“We worked so hard on meeting Pahranagat’s aggression, I think we forgot about Virginia City,” Wilkinson said. “This was not my team. We had the deer-in-the-headlights look to us.”