Having faced Spring Creek in last year’s state final and at an early-season tournament in Winnemucca, Virgin Valley girls basketball coach Chimane Creer said her team was ready for the physical style she knew it would encounter against another North team.
Being ready wasn’t quite enough.
Elko held the Bulldogs scoreless for more than seven minutes in the third and fourth quarters to pull away for a 49-32 win in a Class 3A state semifinal at Reno High.
Elko (18-9) will play Spring Creek (20-9) in the title game at 2:30 p.m. today at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center. Spring Creek, behind 17 points from Arryana Edwards, defeated Fernley 63-28 in the other semifinal.
“I was worried about how aggressive they would be,” Creer said. “Northern schools play very, very aggressive and I thought we were ready for it, but what happens when you step on the floor is a lot different.”
The Bulldogs (16-10) also suffered a six-minute scoreless drought that bridged the first and second quarters, and Elko surged from a 10-9 deficit to a 19-10 lead.
“We came out hot, but then we backed off and I’m not sure why,” Creer said.
With a guard-oriented offense, Virgin Valley averaged 50 points per game this season. But the undersized Bulldogs couldn’t contain Elko’s post duo of RaeLynn Forcella and Anna DuBois, who combined for 26 points and helped the Indians control the boards.
“Our post players know their job on the floor is to score and rebound,” Elko coach Camille Larsen said.
Elko guard Emma Sprout scored eight of her 15 points during the Indians’ 10-0 run in the third quarter, getting out in transition after her teammates sealed off the boards.
Abbie Barnard led the Bulldogs with 15 points.
With only one senior, forward Cassidy Crandall, Creer said her team will use the lessons it learned and take another shot at the North next season.
“We knew what we needed to do coming into today, but we’ve just got to prepare a little better,” she said.