The Mineral County High boys basketball team came close to winning a regional title last weekend in Reno, but it will settle for the consolation prize of returning to the state tournament for the third straight season.

After winning its first two games of the tournament, the Serpents matched up with a team they were quite familiar with in Whittell in the championship game at North Valleys High School. The game was tight throughout, but the Warriors pulled away late to win 64-55 and claim the regional title.

The Warriors were the only team in the 1A Western Conference that handed the Serpents a loss during its 15-1 league campaign when they won 49-31 in Hawthorne on Jan. 12. Mineral County avenged that loss on the road Jan. 26 with a 78-53 victory.

The two teams could meet again for a fourth time on Saturday if they’re able to get past their semifinal opponents Friday. Mineral County will take on the school they beat to win the state title last season in Pahranagat Valley on Friday at 12:45 p.m. at the Lawlor Events Center on the campus of the University of Nevada-Reno. On the other side of the bracket, Whittell will play Spring Valley at 4:15 p.m. Friday at the same site.

The state championship game is set for Saturday afternoon at 12:50 p.m. at Lawlor.

Earlier last week, the Serpents cruised to a regional quarterfinal win by beating Owyhee 89-34. They went on to score 48 points in the first half on Friday to beat McDermitt in the semifinals of the tournament, 85-51.