Eureka’s Lady Vandals advanced to the 1A state tournament this week by winning the Region II championship in Las Vegas last weekend over rival Owyhee.
It’s their fourth straight year making it to state. Last year they were state runner-up champion Mineral County.
Meanwhile, the Vandals boys team lost 74-45 in their opening round game at the Region II tournament, to Spring Mountain, the most athletic 1A team in the state.
Stats were not posted for that game. The Vandals ended the season this year 10-12.
For the Lady Vandals, things started off very slow in the first quarter in their opening game with Indian Springs, only a 6-4 lead. But the girls picked things up more in the next two quarters outscoring the Thunderbirds 22-4 to go into the final period with a 28-8 lead and just coast on in to a 32-14 victory.
The semifinals on Friday matched Eureka against South League No. 1 seeded Pahranagat Valley. The teams had played on Dec. 28 in Eureka with the Vandals winning 42-31 led by Ilyhia Greely’s 15 points.
This second meeting saw Eureka take a 15-11 halftime lead in a low scoring game filled with numerous ball handling errors by both teams and over 20 jump balls called.
The teams played fairly even in the second half, Eureka just holding onto that halftime lead as the Panthers had a poor shooting effort.
Pahranagat did close within 29-24 with 2:11 remaining but could get no closer and the Vandals closed out the scoring making four of six foul shots in the final minute of play. However, both teams were not that good at the charity stripe, Eureka making only nine-of-21 and PVHS 8-for-18
Greely and Gabby Minoletti were the leading scores for the Lady Vandals with 11 apiece.
The Saturday night finals against Wells was an outright overtime thriller, a tale of two halves that Eureka came from behind to win in overtime 38-36 to advance to state as the Region II champion.
Wells dominated the first half, 21-11 at the break. But the second half was a 25-15 turnaround in favor of Eureka.
Coach Travis Gallagher said “We had been kind of slow in our offense, their press was getting to us a little bit. So we changed a couple of things and started working the high-low with two posts in there and took advantage of them and got the buckets to fall our way. Our defense was playing top notch in the second half and that’s what helped us get through things.”
After taking a 36-33 lead late in the fourth quarter, Wells’ McKenli Myers got loose in the corner and buried a three-pointer just before time expired to send the game to overtime.
Gallagher said, “I thought we had the game won, but we played a little soft on her (Myers) with time running out and she made a great shot.”
In the overtime, though, Eureka was the only team to score. That came from Molly Zimmerman who got open underneath on the inbounds play with about 90 seconds remaining.
None of the Vandal girls scored in double figures. Greely had nine and Kyra Todd added eight. Zimmerman had six points in the game.
Haylee Sethman was the leading scorer for the Lady Leopards with nine points.
Both teams were not too good at the foul line, Eureka being 5-for-11 at the foul line, and Wells was 4-for-10.
In the Region I championship played in Hawthorne, Mineral County, the defending state champion, edged Virginia City 52-47 for the title.
The pairings at state this week, which began on Thursday at Wooster High School in Reno, Mineral County (23-3) vs. Wells (21-4) and Eureka (17-6) vs. Virginia City (16-9)
The championship game will be Friday afternoon at the Lawlor Center.