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The stage was set for the Mineral County High girls basketball team to win their second straight state title on Friday, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be for the Serpents.
After getting by Wells 47-44 the day before at Wooster High School, Mineral County seemed to regain some of the momentum they had lost near the end of the season after suffering a pair of crucial injuries. The team was still beaten up a bit, but they found a way to win and faced off against a familiar Virginia City team in the state title game that they had already knocked off three times this season.
Unfortunately for the Serpents, they found out the hard way that its tough to beat a team four times in one year as they fell to the Muckers 41-34.
After getting off to a slow start, Mineral County used a nice run to end the second quarter and went into the half with a 17-16 lead. That lead grew to 10 in the third quarter when they took a 28-18 lead before Virginia City found another gear. The Muckers went on to outscore the Serpents 23-6 over the final quarter and a half, and captured their first girls basketball title since 2010.
Abigail Wambaugh led the Muckers with 14 points and Kori Johnson added 10.
Jayla Tolliver was the leading scorer for Mineral County with 10 points and Perla Gutierrez finished with nine.
It was a tough pill to swallow for a Mineral County team that had such a promising start to the season. The girls started the year 18-1 overall before finishing 6-3 over the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Still, they finished in first place in the 1A Central League and won another regional championship along with being the state runner-up.
The girls should be poised to make another run at it next year after losing just three seniors to graduation and returning many of their core players.