Courtesy photo
Andre White slashes through the Eureka defenses in going to the basket. Mineral County won the quarterfinal game with the Vandals 51-46, but lost in the state semifinal to eventual champion Green Valley Christian 60-45.

Mineral County took one step forward in defense of their back-to-back boys 1A Class basketball title and their first game with Eureka at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, but came up short by a wide margin in losing 60-45 in the semifinals to eventual champion Green Valley Christian from Henderson. The game was moved from the Cox and was played at Chaparral High School in Vegas.

Coach Pete Summerbell gave his own summary of the Serpents appearance in the state tournament. He said the Serpents came up one game short of getting to the finals for the 5th straight year.

In the quarterfinals, MCHS downed a tough Eureka squad 51-46. According to Max Preps, this is the first time Eureka and Mineral County have played since before 2004.

Summerbell said, “The first half was back and forth and was deadlocked at 20-20. The Serpents got the offense going, outscoring the Vandals 20-13 in the third quarter. Andre White and Tristen Jones combined for 11 points to lead the charge.”

But again, the Vandals closed the gap, outscoring Mineral County in the fourth quarter and had pulled within two points, 48-46 with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Having to commit fouls to hopefully get the ball back on missed free throws, the Serpent’s Tucker Johnson and Drake Spanier made four straight free throw shots in those final seconds to win the game and advance to the semifinals.

Jaevaun Jones led the Serpents with nine 9 points, six of which came in the second quarter. Andre White tallied eight points, 7 assists and 4 steals. DeVayne Isom and Tucker Johnson each had 8 points for the game.

The Serpents advanced to the semifinal game against the #1 ranked team in the state- the Green Valley Guardians Christian from Henderson.

Summerbell said, “It appeared to be a David and Goliath story as the Guardians jumped out to a 21-9 lead after the first quarter. However, the tough minded Mineral County crew played great defense and cut the Guardians full court press to shreds as the Serpents outscored the Henderson team 34-17 in the second and third quarters to take the lead, 43- 38.”

He said, “The key to the great comeback was holding the two big scorers for Green Valley, 6’ 6 David Thurman and 6’ 4 Joshua Valencia, to a total of 14 points.

But the Guardians pulled off their press and stayed under the basket and used their height to get two offensive rebounds and a 3-pointer to turn the momentum in their favor. Unfortunately, Andre White fouled out early in the final period and the offense could not convert in the half-court. The game was much closer than the final score of 60-45 indicated.”

Summerbell said, “I was very proud of our boys for taking a big punch in the face and responding in the second and third quarters to put the Serpent fear into the faces of the bigger Henderson team that can recruit and end up with boys who could be playing on 4A and 5A teams. We were hoping to meet Alamo in the finals again-but we will be back again next year as we only lose three seniors, Isaac Torres, Ryan Jaramillo and Moses Dominguez.”

The All-Conference Team was announced as five Serpents were recognized.

1st Team: Andre White and DeVayne Isom

2nd team: Issac Torres and Ryan Jaramillo

Honorable Mention: Tucker Johnson

Summerbell said, “The Serpent coaching staff and all the players want to thank the entire Mineral County Community for all their support throughout the season. THANK YOU!”