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Muckers go 1-2 at tourney up North; play with heart

<p>Trish Gray / Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Tyler Gallegos is seen in action last year against the Eureka Vandals. He averaged 9 blocks per game for the Muckers in the last tournament.</p>

Trish Gray / Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Tyler Gallegos is seen in action last year against the Eureka Vandals. He averaged 9 blocks per game for the Muckers in the last tournament.

<p>Michelle O'Donnell/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Jacob Taylor</p>

Michelle O'Donnell/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Jacob Taylor

<p>Michelle O'Donnell/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Jimmy Withers</p>

Michelle O'Donnell/Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Jimmy Withers

The Tonopah Muckers men’s basketball team played well at the Wells Rural Electric Tournament last weekend. Joe Westerlund’s team came up with the first win of the season during the first game of the tournament. The squad defeated their opponent Carlin by a score of 44-28.

After the first game they dropped two games against Eureka (54-60) and Jackpot (39-54). The coach believed the losses came because they had such a small bench.

Head Coach Joe Westerlund said the team “did pretty good” considering the amount of kids he had.

“We went to the Wells tournament with only seven players, which made it difficult to get a good rotation going. The players were pretty tired toward the end of day two games because of our short bench,” he said.

Despite the small bench, the team spirit never wavered. The team captain, Tyler Gallegos, said his team worked hard.

“I saw a lot of great things during the tournament. Even though we only won one game, we never gave up. We are just going to have to keep improving and keep doing what Coach Westerlund is teaching us”, he said.

Westerlund knew after the tournament exactly what his team will be working on.

“The kids need to continue to work on breaking the press and applying the press,” he said. “We also need to work on passing the ball more on offense in order to make the other team work on defense.”

According to Westerlund, the defense did a great job during this tournament.

“Our defense was really strong and was working pretty good for it being the first time we tried it in a game situation, but the kids started to wear down in the later part of the games due to our short bench,” he explained.

The Muckers defense was led by Gallegos, who had 27 blocks in three games.

“My defense was the best aspect of my game. I averaged nine blocks a game. I was assigned to guard the other team’s best post player and to make plays happen on offense. I just couldn’t be happier with the way my team performed,” Gallegos said. He also did well on offense scoring 35 points.

“Gallegos is going to have a great season and will continue to improve,” Westerlund said.

Gallegos is one of the seniors on the team, that’s why it’s so important for him to do well this season.

“Knowing this was the last time I was ever starting a season of basketball in high school, I played my heart out. I just kept picking my teammates up and encouraging them when they needed it,” he said.

Jason Carman also had a good defensive tourney.

“Carman also turned in a great defensive performance and looks to be a very vital part of our defense and press,” Westerlund said.

Westerlund said Connor Friel, Jimmy Withers and Jacob Taylor did a good job working the ball around and getting good shots and Matt Misener also was very aggressive on defense and had some great shots on offense.

The Muckers will play Sierra Lutheran next Saturday in Carson City.

The main goal for the team is to work hard during the week on their problem areas.