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PREP: Muckers win Comstock crown

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

VIRGINIA CITY – Hector Bucchanieri saw something different from his Virginia City boys basketball team, and he loved it.

The Muckers trailed for the first 18 minutes of the game, and then went on a 13-3 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to knock off Battle Mountain 51-46 in the championship game of the Comstock Classic Saturday afternoon.

“This is the first time that we have played a tough team where we fell behind and were able to claw back,” Bucchanieri said. “We weren’t able to do that over in Hawthorne. It was a big step for us.”

The key to V.C.’s comeback was a concerted defensive effort on the perimeter and the ability to grab some offensive rebounds not to mention the play of Ryan Conners, who scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to lead the Muckers’ charge.

Virginia City had pulled ahead 36-35 on a free throw by Ethan Huffman with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter. Both teams had four possessions after that, but came up empty,

That’s when Conners took center stage. The athletic senior became a one-man wrecking crew. He scored driving to the basket and he scored on putbacks. Battle Mountain had nobody to keep up with him.

Conners started the barrage with a layup off a nice pick-and-roll play. After Battle Mountain’s Jeremy Price misfired, V.C. missed a shot, but got the offensive rebound. Conners drove the lane and scored to give the Muckers a 40-35 lead. Tyler Samuelson drove the lane and scored for a 40-37 lead, but Conners scored two more buckets on a driving layup and a putback to make it 44-37.

The Longhorns cut the lead to 44-40 with a 3-point field goal, but Conners and Huffman scored for a 48-40 lead with 3:25 left. The Longhorns did close to three, 48-45, but Adam Young knocked down three free throws in the final 51.4 seconds to cement the win.

“Ryan is an amazing kid,” Bucchanieri said. “When I came here in the fall, he was a shy kid, a good kid. Everyday he takes big strides. He takes more and more on himself.”

It was a disappointing finish for Battle Mountain coach Roger Wollock, whose team led by 11 and nine in the first half.

“We didn’t defend in the second half,” he said. “It came down to us not securing the basketball. We didn’t compete on the boards. As small as we are, we have to compete on the boards.”

Huffman led the Muckers with 17 points and Conners finished with 15, 13 of those in the second half. Justin Avignone contributed nine points.

GIRLS

LADY MUCKERS ROLL

Virginia City claimed third place with a 54-20 win over Battle Mountain. Virginia City is now 5-4 on the season.

“We’re getting there,” V.C. coach Todd Hess said after the win. “Esmie (Venegas) and Taylor (Parsons) had very good games, and had good tournaments.

“They zoned us (at the start) and Taylor and Esmie combined for seven 3-pointers.”

Virginia City led 30-10 at the half, as Parsons had 15 of her game-high 23 in that span while Venegas had eight of her 17.

Heather Harrower contributed seven for the Muckers. Abbie Mickelson led Battle Mountain with six points.

DAYTON GIRLS DROP THRILLER

The Dust Devils lost their third straight in the tournament and finished sixth after dropping a 35-32 decision to Coleville.

“The last quarter went back and forth,” said Dayton coach Cliff Serawop. “The lead changed hands several times. We had our opportunities. We missed five uncontested perimeter shots. Some games we’re on and some game we’re off.”

Destinee Serawop led Dayton with 10, while Maribel Ledezma added eight and Erin Edison scored six.