After a short time away for winter break, the Eureka County High boys’ basketball team was back on the floor last week, splitting a pair of games to open up the conference portion of its schedule.

The Vandals seemed refreshed from their time off, and it showed in their 67-38 handling of Carlin on Jan. 10. Leading 32-13 at the intermission, the home team kept its foot on the pedal and cruised to the 29 point win in Eureka.

Trevor Merritt led the way for the Vandals, scoring a game high 21 points. Jaiden Hicks finished with 11, while Paul Padilla added 8 in the win.

“Winning the first league game gave the team some confidence,” said Eureka County High coach Elmer Porter. “The boys practiced hard all week, and our plan to press Carlin in the frontcourt paid off for us on defense.”

The Vandals stayed on their home floor and squared off against Owyhee the following day, and fell in a tight game 60-56. The Vandals took a two-point lead into the half, but couldn’t overcome some big fourth quarter buckets by the Braves center.

“We played hard, but just came up a bit short,” Porter said. “By hanging in there with one of the better teams in the league, we know we can play with anyone in our division. We just need to figure out how to close those types of games now.”

In the loss, Padilla led his team in scoring with 15, and Merritt dropped in 13. Other Vandals that got into the scoring column were Nick Hornberger (7), Josh Plaskett (6), Garrett Johnson (2) and Hicks (2).

The Vandals now sit at 5-9 overall on the season and 1-1 in conference.

Next up, Eureka will travel to Wells on Friday and Jackpot on Saturday, before briefly stepping out of conference against White Pine next Tuesday.