OVERTON—The Lady Trojans had an off game and that can’t happen in the playoffs. Moapa Valley ran away with the game, winning the Class 3A quarterfinal playoff game 42-24 on Wednesday night.
The Trojans (12-14 overall, 5-5 Sunset League) had everything against them, having to travel 120 miles to Moapa Valley High School, playing their first playoff game since 2008 and also having the knowledge that they lost to the Pirates by 15 points the first time they played them. Finally, they had to play the game in a hostile environment, which can be unnerving.
“We turned the ball over a lot and they had eight points in the first quarter before we even had a shot,” Trojans coach Bob Hopkins said. “I think we haven’t been in the playoffs in basketball in a long time and nerves came out.”
Playoff experience is what counts in many sports and basketball is no different. The Pirates had gone to the playoffs last year and in 2013.
At the end of the first quarter, it was 16-2 Pirates. Things continued this way in the second quarter and by the end of the half it was 27-8 Moapa Valley.
By then Pahrump had dug themselves too big of a hole to climb out.
After the half, the girls continued to turn over the ball. The Pirates defense inside the key was tough and in the second half this kept the Trojans shooting outside.
Trojans senior guard Bethany Calvert had a 3-pointer in the third and Jackie Stobbe made a free throw and Maddy Pereira-Villafuerte made a free throw and that was the extent of the Trojans offense for that quarter.
In the fourth, with time running out, the Trojans starters managed only 7 points. Hopkins made the decision late in the fourth with only 3 minutes, 22 seconds left in the game to rotate in junior varsity players, who then played the remaining minutes.
“We have a lot of young kids to build on,” he said. “I am happy we made it this far and the future looks bright. Our seniors kick-started the program. Next year we won’t have to teach as much of the basics for the freshmen and junior varsity players have been learning the offense and the defense. They are even using our system at the middle school.”
Senior forward Isabelle Meza led the Trojans in scoring with 7 points followed by sophomore Samantha Runnion with 6.
The Pirates (24-5, 8-2) advance to the semifinals against Cheyenne (18-6, 10-0) on Friday at Sunrise Mountain High School at 6:20 p.m. Hopkins said if Moapa Valley can stop Cheyenne from running with the ball, they have a chance of beating them.
“I think Moapa Valley has more weapons than Cheyenne,” he said. “The Pirates have three or four good outside shooters.”
Maddy Pereira-Villafuerte 1 point, Bethany Calvert 3, Alyvia Briscoe 2, Jackie Stobbe 3, Savannah Fairbanks 2.
Virgin Valley (21-3, 10-0) will play Desert Pines (15-13, 8-2) at Sunrise Mountain at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Contact sports editor Vern Hee at email@example.com