The Pershing County boys basketball team reached a turning point at the Whittell Tournament this past Thursday. They beat the Westwood Lumberjacks (49-21). It was the third win of 2021-22 for the Mustangs.
“We now had three more wins than the previous season,” said head coach Jesse Canchola. “The boys were excited to reach a milestone that some might consider unimportant.”
The coach noted one key to their success.
“We lowered our turnovers from the high twenties down to 18,” he said.
Marshall Happy led the scoring with 14 points in his first appearance of the season. Aaron Kienbaum and Kaden Chambers added another eight and nine points respectively.
Friday, against Carlin, the Mustangs lowered their turnovers a little more. They also raised their field goal percentage. As a result, they defeated the Carlin Railroaders (36-20).
Player of the Game, Diego Gonzalez, led the scoring with 16 points.
Next, the Mustangs played the host of the tourney, the undefeated Whittell Warriors (6-0).
The first half ended with Pershing County trailing by double digits. After a locker room talk with Coaches Canchola and Rich Campbell, the Mustangs came out fighting in the third quarter.
Pershing County narrowed the deficit to six points. However, the Warriors sank a three-pointer, forcing the Mustangs to play a foul game.
They lost this one (4-367). Travis Donaldson led the scoring with 18 points. Kaden Chambers and Diego Gonzalez added six points each.
“The atmosphere was great. The kids got a sense of what it’s like to be in a close match-up,” said Canchola.
Drop to Owyhee; Knock off Wells
Saturday was the last day of the tournament. The Mustangs started out a bit sluggish, losing to Owyhee (63-30).
“They were a team with a lot of experience and played a physical type of basketball. We had to dig deep to finish the game,” said Canchola.
Diego Gonzalez led the scoring with ten points.
Time for another locker room talk.
“Let’s try to finish and go home on a better note,” they all agreed. “We’re inexperienced but won’t let that be our excuse.”
In their final preseason game, the Mustangs knocked off Wells (49-21).
“It wasn’t our best basketball but we got the win,” said Canchola. “The bench players got to see a lot of minutes and I believe that will help us as a team moving forward.”
Travis Donaldson and Ashton Nolf led the scoring with 12 and 10 points respectively.
The Mustangs now sit at 5-5.
“We are slowly coming together. Aaron Kienbaum continues as our point guard with Travis Donaldson taking the role at times. Diego Gonzalez impresses despite having no basketball experience until this year. We’re far from where we need or want to be but we’re moving forward,” said the coach.
On Friday, the Mustangs travel to Virginia City to challenge the Muckers (3-5).
JV boys go 3-1 in Battle Mountain
The JV boys had an exciting weekend closer to home. Friday, in Battle Mountain, they beat Wells and lost to Round Mountain’s varsity team. Saturday they defeated Eureka and Battle Mountain (36-34).
Izayuh McGlothin hit a game-winning floater with four seconds to go in the win against the Longhorns.
Coach JJ Meyers noted that the boys lost to Battle Mountain by 20 points a week earlier.
“The improvement we made in a week was great to see. The boys are still getting better every day,” he said.
The JV boys play at noon in Virginia City this Friday.