Fred Minoletti, Eureka head football coach exchanges cleats for sneakers and begins his second season on the bench as head boys basketball coach for the Vandals.
“We have two seniors,” Minoletti said. “C.W. Landry, the football quarterback, and Vinny Padilla will be our top players. Junior Tristan Bircham also figures to see a lot of playing time and two sophomores whom I think will do pretty good are Gage Hayward and Chase Green.”
Minoletti thinks the basketball season is going to be similar to football. “We might lose several games at the beginning, but once we get into league play, with Owyhee, McDermitt, Carlin and Jackpot, I think we’ll do pretty well.” Over on the other side, Minoletti expects the strong teams will be defending state champion Mineral County and Whittell. Spring Mountain and Pahranagat Valley will likely be the favorites in the south.”
As for the Vandals starting five, Minoletti said, “We’ll have a pretty good mixture on inside and outside shooting. We have couple of big guys inside. Green is 6-4 and Bircham is 6-3.” The team averaged 51.2 points per game last year and allowed 50.9 points per game.
Bench play is what concerns Minoletti the most as the season begins. “We have a pretty strong starting five, but after that our depth drops off quite a bit. We’ll have to stay away from the injuries.”
Thus, it would appear that teams which have more bench depth might pose a problem for the Vandals.
The team only lost two seniors from a nine-player roster, but have had at least 16 turnout for basketball this year, and a few of them will play both JV and varsity as the season progresses.
Eureka was 13-11 last year, second place behind McDermitt in the 1A North-east, with whom they had two very close games, then lost a two- point heartbreaker to Whittell, 50-52, in the first round of the regional playoffs.
This weekend, Eureka plays in the Wells Rural Electric Classic and will have games with Pahranagat Valley, Round Mountain, Tonopah and Beaver Dam.
The following weekend, Dec.7-9, the Vandals play in the Whittell tournament in Zephyr Cove facing North Tahoe, Hug JVs, Pyramid Lake and Mammoth, California.