When the Mineral County High girls’ basketball team traveled to Reno in March for the zone playoffs, it was expected to bring home a state title.
But fate, monstrous and empty, was not with them. An inbound pass took a bad bounce, and the girls were knocked out early in the tournament. Amidst the disappointment came a vow: We will be back next year.
Now that time has come.
For the first time in the 2013 season the Lady Serpents will take to the court on Thursday to compete in the Serpent Classic, the annual preseason tournament.
“I think [the season] is going to be pretty good,” said senior Kelsey Viani-Whittwer. “We have a lot of younger athletes so it’s going to be tough; but once we have our offenses down and our coverage; we’ll be one of the toughest teams in the league.”
The Lady Serpents are expected to come out of the gate with a combination of experience and drive.
“The girls that we do have, they want to push themselves and they want to get going with it,” Viani-Whittwer said. “And they want to win the state championship.”
Mineral County is focusing on faster play and defense this season, Viani-Whittwer said.
“Last year we didn’t know our offenses quite as well,” she said. “This year us returners know our offenses and are able to kind of mentor the younger ones.”
Four veterans, —Viani-Whittwer, Alexa McFalls, Daniel Wilson and Kali Hawk —lead the way.
Viani-Whittwer said coach Foster Kenton expects her and McFalls to lead the team on the court.
“He really looks at us to run the floor and really make sure our girls know the plays,” Viani-Whittwer said. “We’re the ones that have to get the offense and defense going. We’re the vocal leaders.”
Wilson and Hawk are among the team’s strongest defensive assets.
“We really look to [Wilson] for rebounding, and getting those steals and making those plays for us,” Viani-Whittwer said.
Viani-Whittwer said she’s expecting tough competition this year from Smith Valley, Virginia City, and Coleville.
“All those teams are usually pretty scrappy,” she said.