Mineral County High coach Pete Summerbell wasn’t quite ready to use the word “dynasty” yet when describing the run his program has been on, but it might be hard to convince other coaches in the 1A Nevada boys basketball circuit otherwise.
After a drought that spanned over 50 years, the Serpents won their second straight state title on Friday afternoon in Reno and their third in the last four years. Added with the fact that they’ve been to the state tournament the last five seasons, the dynasty label may not be that far off.
“We’re definitely continuing to build a great program here and have had some great success as of late,” Summerbell said. “We’ve been able to reload every season even after losing key players to graduation and have had guys step up big for us.”
That was evident this season after the Serpents lost seven seniors from last years title team and turned around to go 27-4 overall with a regional title and now another state championship.
They knocked off Pahranagat Valley 50-38 on Friday to win that title in a game that they controlled from the beginning.
After jumping out to a 26-15 halftime lead, their lead grew to as many as 22 before holding off a strong Panthers team late in the game. Summerbell said their focus was on defense before the season even started, and that approach led them to keep Pahranagat Valley in check most of the game.
Treven Wachsmuth led the way in the scoring column for Mineral County with 21 points and Seth Bozzi had 15 points and 19 rebounds in the win. Ethan Nelms added 10, but Summerbell added that a big difference for them was the defense of Tony Torres.
“Tony was huge for us all year and really stepped up in the state tournament,” he said. “He was one of the best athletes on the floor every game. We put him on Alamo’s best scorer and he was awesome.”
Mineral County entered the state tournament as the No 1 seed and matched up with Owyhee in the semifinals, who they beat 60-40. It was a little more of a balanced effort from the scoring side as Wachsmuth finished with 12 points and Nelms and Alex Palacious each had 10. Julio Alverez added nine points while Bozzi finished with seven points and 15 rebounds in the win.
“We made Owyhee earn their shots, just like I feel we did throughout the season against every team we played,” Summerbell said. “For me defense wins championships, and we played great defense this year and in the playoffs.”
The Serpents were able to enjoy the state title and stayed the night in Reno on Friday to celebrate before getting back on the bus where they were greeted by fans in Hawthorne. Some were already back at school Saturday afternoon preparing for their next sport as the baseball and track seasons already begin this week.
For Summerbell, he and longtime assistant coach Nate Ridley were already looking forward to the next basketball season on Tuesday as they planned out their summer schedule to keep the boys in basketball shape. They will lose five seniors to graduation but are still looking to be competitive in the 2020-21 season as they’ll bring back a handful of players looking for their third title in a row.
A lot of that success can be attributed to the fact that both Summerbell and Ridley coach the middle school team and have them come up in their system.
“It’s a great advantage to get them so early and have an impact on their growth as players,” Summerbell said. “Nate’s been with me for 6-7 years and we just introduce them to the way we want to play, teach them the fundamentals and watch them grow.”
For now though, they are just going to sit back a bit and enjoy this championship.
“For me, its’ awesome. They’re all great, but this year we had a bit more of a challenge,” Summerbell said. “I’m really proud of the way we were able to come together as a group. We’re a family all the way.”