End of a stellar season

The Pershing County girls hug after its 2A state semifinal game with Needles, Calif., on Thursday morning at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

The Pershing County girls hug after its 2A state semifinal game with Needles, Calif., on Thursday morning at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

Last Thursday, Pershing County girls basketball lost 58-31 to Needles, Calif., in the state semifinals.

They competed at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno. 

Needles advanced to the title game and beat North Tahoe 48-34 in the Virginia Street gym on Friday in the championship.

Pershing County came home tired but proud with only four losses the entire season.

Pershing County’s Raegan Burrows is announced before the start of Thursday’s 2A state semifinal game against Needles.

The Mustangs finished 24-4 overall, and 16-2 in the 2A. 

Pershing County did not lose to a Nevada team this year. They lost to North Tahoe twice during the regular season. In the playoffs they beat Yerington 55-40 but lost to North Tahoe 47-29 and Needles.

“We got off to a bad start, which was not good because we needed to build early confidence,” said coach Lee Houston. He estimates that about 75 people drove from Pershing County to watch the girls compete.

Needles jumped out to a 10-point lead before Taylor Garland put the Mustang’s first two points on the board. Needles led 23-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Aaliyah Allen shoots a free throw against Needles.

Pershing County kept the score closer the rest of the game but did not recover from the deficit. 

“After the first quarter, we pretty much played even with them. We just dug too big of a hole. We’re proud of our girls’ attitudes even though the game got away from them. Needles, on the other hand, even though they were winning, did not have good attitudes,” said Houston.

Mia Canchola scored the last points of the game and year for Pershing County, bringing the score to 58-31.

Pershing County’s Kyra Cerini goes up for a shot during Thursday’s 2A state semifinal game against Needles.

Five seniors played their final game in a Mustang uniform. 

They are Anna Happy, Yasmine McKinney, Kaylah Hanley, Mady Grenz and Taylor Garland.

They pass the torch to freshmen Arya Garland and Khloe Montes and sophomores Riley Harvey, Kyra Cerini, Canchola and Kenya Vaughan. Raegan Burrows and Aaliyah Allen are completing their junior year.

Garland led the scoring against Needles with seven points. 

Happy, Burrows and McKinney each had five. McKinney shot a three-pointer in the second quarter. Happy shot one in the fourth. 

“Our season was a huge success overall. We couldn’t be prouder of the attitude and effort our girls displayed,” said Houston with a nod to coaches Damien McKinney, Jason Allen, Sarita Gordon and Sarah Haynie.

“These coaches are great mentors in life and great teachers of the game of basketball,” he said. “We look forward to building off this year and taking the next step next year.”

What’s next?

Now the girls transition to softball or track and field. Last season the softball team finished undefeated in their conference and competed at the state level, receiving recognition for their efforts. 

The softball lineup includes All-State first-teamers Allen (catcher) and Taylor Garland, pitcher. Mady Grenz and Anna Happy are All-State second team. 

A core group of girls has been playing together since childhood. They excel on the volleyball and basketball court as well as the soccer, track and softball fields. No matter the sport, the Mustangs play unselfishly. They support one another with good sportsmanship always on display. In the eyes of their town, that’s a win nobody can top.