John Byrne/Battle Born Media
Mineral County junior Damien Montoya attempts a shot during the 1A boys state championship game Saturday in Reno. The Serpents fell to Spring Mountain 50-36 after knocking off Pahranagat Valley 61-57 the day before.

Boys fall in title game to Spring Mountain

Mineral County was right where they wanted to be last Saturday at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, a chance to capture a second straight Class 1A boys basketball championship. The Serpent fans hadn’t seen that since the girls team won four in a row from 2000-2003

But the boys had to face Spring Mountain from Las Vegas, boys who grew up playing street ball with lots of speed and athleticism.

Senior point guard Shawn Shumpert scored 19 points and helped the Golden Eagles to a 50-36 victory over Mineral County and their second title since 2015.

Last year, Mineral County beat Spring Mountain in overtime in the semifinals on their way to the 2017 championship.

Robert McFalls was the main offense for the Serpents with 16 points, but he was just about it for the team.

Serpents coach Pete Summerbell said, “The game was closer than the score indicated, but we just couldn’t get anything going on the inside with our big men.”

Spring Mountain took a 23-13 lead into halftime, but the Serpents (25-7) scored the first six points of the second half. .

Spring Mountain (24-5) called a timeout to regroup, then scored 13 of the next 19 points in the quarter and Mineral County did not pull within one possession the rest of the game.

Ra’vaun Nibblet had 14 points for the Golden Eagles, and Damariyae Royal had eight points and 10 rebounds.

“We didn’t get any scoring out of our inside,” Summerbell said. “Seth Bozzi, our sophomore center only had one point and 6-4 Devon Davis only had two points. We got some good looks, we just weren’t able to finish. We had a tough hole to fill from last year losing three seniors who were All League First Team players.”

He said the Eagles were good from the outside, Shumpert going 9 for 18 from the floor and Nibblet 6 of 9.

The teams were fairly even at the foul line Mineral County was 6 of 16, Spring Mountain was 8 of 12.

Summerbell said Spring Mountain’s strong defense was “working effectively on our outside when we had nothing going on the inside. And we committed 17 turnovers and you can’t do that with a team like Spring who can make the transition and finish pretty good.”

In the semifinal game with Pahranagat Valley, three players scored in double figures as the Serpents won 61-57 in overtime. McFalls led the way with 21 followed by the Montoya boys, Victor with 15 points, all on three-pointers, and Damien with 14 points.

Culen Highbe scored 18 points for Pahranagat Valley. Richard Lewis added 16 points. Highbe’s lay in with six seconds remaining sent to the game to overtime tied at 49.

The Panthers had a 57-55 lead with 1:32 to go in the overtime, but Lewis then fouled out at 1:03 left and McFalls connected on six straight free throws in the final 26 seconds to give the Serpents the win.

“That Alamo game took a lot out of us,” Summerbell said, “It was an emotional thing.”