Courtesy photo The Eureka and McDermitt girls basketball teams faced off in a physical battle for first place in the IV Northern East division on Jan. 23 at the Fieldhouse. The Lady Vandals came up just short, falling to the Bulldogs 52-51.

Courtesy photo
The Eureka and McDermitt girls basketball teams faced off in a physical battle for first place in the IV Northern East division on Jan. 23 at the Fieldhouse. The Lady Vandals came up just short, falling to the Bulldogs 52-51.

The Eureka County High girls basketball team came into Saturday’s matchup against McDermitt 4-0 in league and looking to beat a strong McDermitt team to take sole place at the top of their division. After a excruciatingly close game against the Lady Bulldogs, Eureka was unable to attain a fifth straight division win, falling 52-51.

Eureka and McDermitt are arguably the two top contenders to win their league this year in the East, and if Saturday’s final score indicated anything, these two will definitely be fighting for the top seed going into the regional tournament.

“Going into the game we knew we were going to be undersized at the low post position and we knew they had good outside shooters,” Vandal coach Travis Gallagher said about the Lady Bulldogs. He went on to add, “We did a great job defending the outside threat, but we could not find a way to stop their big girls underneath.”

McDermitt did indeed own the paint against Eureka as 37 of their total 52 points came from two Lady Bulldogs.

The Lady Vandals had a huge contribution from 3-point shooting, especially freshman guard Morgan Thomas who knocked in four shots from behind the arc. Thomas poured in 19 points for the game, while Cody Gibbs added 13 of her own to keep Eureka within reach of McDermitt the entire way.

“In the end, we just couldn’t get that last shot that was needed to finish the game with a win,” Gallagher said. McDermitt handed Eureka their first league loss and only their second loss all season with a 51-52 final score.

Now, instead of being solely in first place, the Lady Vandals basketball team are in a 3-way tie for first place with McDermitt and Owhyee. Eureka can still win the league if they take care of the rest of their league schedule and win the second matchup with McDermitt as the winner of the second game decides the league champ in a tie-breaking scenario.

Although nobody wants to lose a league game, this was a tough test for Eureka which they proved ready for.

“They are playing well together and we are ready to finish the second half of the season strong,” Gallagher concluded.

Eureka will travel to Carlin and Owhyee this Friday and Saturday for two more league contests. Again, if Eureka can take care of their remaining league schedule, a win in McDermitt to wrap up the regular season, they can still be crowned division champion. With a tough one-point loss, Eureka will be anxious to play McDermitt again, but they will have to take one game at a time and not overlook anyone to get the showdown they most desperately await.