File Photo
Eureka coach Fred Minoletti talks to his team during a timeout in the state tournament last season. The Vandals return six players from the 2018-19 squad that reached the state final.

Advancing to the state finals was an exciting experience for the Lady Vandals basketball team last season as the team had not been there since 2014. They had a fine 18-8 season.

Eureka does have four girls state championships trophies in the school trophy case – 1978, 1985, 1987, 2013.

This year’s version of the team, according to coach Travis Gallagher, has six players returning: Gracie Garrett, Ilyhia Greely, Gabi Minoletti, Kyra Todd, Molly Zimmerman and the only senior, Breanna Miller.

He said the team will be young, “I have nine freshman turning out. A number of them will play on the JV team. Even my varsity starters are a young group. It’s going to be trying and some of the freshmen players are going to be called upon to step up on varsity.”

He is having to replace Angelica Townsend, the only senior last year. Unfortunately, about four of the players from last year have chosen not to play this year.

“Yet, I think we will be able to compete well enough at league level, in the 1A East,” Gallagher said. “Then we’ll see what we can do at Regionals.”

Gallagher said he thought that Mineral County, the defending state champion, and the team that beat Eureka 40-35 in the finals, will be strong again. “I doubt they lost much, since their star player and leading scorer, Perla Gutierrez, returns as a sophomore this year.”

Boys team coach Fred Minoletti said the Vandals only lost one starter to graduation and has 13 returning players to choose from including Chace Green, Gage Hayward and Witz Bailey, who are returning seniors.

The Vandal boys were 11-10 last year, 6-4 in league, but lost to Whittell in the first round of the Region I tournament.

Minoletti said, “I expect we’ll be competitive and do well in the 1A east league. We start this weekend at the Wells Rural Electric tournament. We’ll play four games against the Elko JV, Tonopah, Green Valley Christian (Las Vegas) and Round Mountain.”

The girls play in the same WREC tournament although possibly against different teams.

On Dec. 12-14, both Eureka teams will participate in the Whittell preseason tournament in Zephyr Cove.