Eureka’s Lady Vandal’s wanted to return to the state finals in the 2020 1A girls basketball tournament in Reno last week. But that didn’t happen this year as the girls lost a 35-31 decision in the semifinals to Virginia City.
“The second and third quarter the ball just wouldn’t go in the basket for us,” said coach Travis Gallagher. “The stat sheet shows we only shot 10 percent from the field in the second period and seven percent in the third. Virginia’s City shots were going in and ours were not. And turning the ball over, like we’ve done all season, were continuing problems.”
Going into the final period, Virginia City led 23-13. Ilyhia Greely being the Vandals leading scorer at that point with eight points.
But in the fourth quarter Gallagher said, “We made a good run at them, tried to speed the game up.” They outscored the Muckers 18-12 that period and did close within 31-29 with 1:01 remaining on a basket by Greely. “Stuff started falling in the basket for us, too,” said Gallagher, “Gracie (Garrett) hit a three-pointer and Ilyhia had six more points.”
But Virginia City held the Vandals off with free throws in the final minute to preserve the 35-31 win.
The Muckers would go on to upset defending state champion Mineral County the next night 41-34, holding 1A girls state scoring leader Perla Gutierrez to only nine points while Virginia City had three girls in double figures, Abbgy Wambaugh with 14, Kory Johnson with 11 and Bethany Moore with 10.
It is only the second state title for Virginia City girls, and first since 2010.
Eureka had only one senior this season, Breyana Miller, and finished the year 17-7.
“It was a good season,” Gallagher said. “We were young, struggled on our offense to flow, and getting shots to fall. Defense kept us in most of the games and enabled us to hold most teams to less than their per game average. Hustle on defense made the team work better. If all the underclassmen come back next year, we’ll make another run at it.”
The Lady Vandals last state title was in 2013.