Lady Vandals set for huge showdown with McDermitt

A thrilling win at Wells and another game that wasn’t so much at Jackpot, lifted the Eureka girls basketball team into a one game lead for second place this week over McDermitt in the 1A Eastern League.

The deciding factor will be tonight when the Lady Vandals host McDermitt (14-5, 6-3) in the final game before the league playoffs begin.

Defending state champion Owyhee (14-4, 7-1) is the league leader and play host to Wells and Jackpot this weekend.

The thrill for the Lady Vandals at Wells on Friday was their come-from-behind 57-56 win. Coach Travis Gallagher said Wells had control most of the game and led 40-37 at the end of the third quarter.

The Vandal girls (15-5, 7-2) stayed close in the fourth quarter, but trailed by three points with 10 seconds remaining. “Then,” as Gallagher explained, “Cody Gibbs stole the ball at the far end, dribbled the length of the court, passed to Morgan Thomas under the basket. Morgan knows we need three points to tie and kicks the ball out to Katie Demele, who drains the three-pointer and gets fouled. I quickly called a timeout with six seconds left to calm everybody down and told Katie, ‘It’s just a free throw.’ She calmly hits the free throw.”

Wells (15-9, 3-4) was forced to throw up a wild shot at the end and missed. Thomas had 14 points for the Vandals. Gibbs, Demele and Angelika Townsend each scored 12 points.

Saturday night at Jackpot, Gallagher said the team came out pretty good with the starting five and enjoyed a comfortable lead most of the game, including 42-24 at the end of three.

“We have to beat McDermitt (14-5, 6-3) to keep second place and the playoff spot,” Gallagher said. The Bulldogs beat the Vandals 56-44 Jan. 31 in McDermitt.

The league playoffs will be Feb. 17-18 in Elko with the top two advancing to state at the Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus in Las Vegas Feb. 24-25.

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