SMALL SCHOOLS: Calvary Chapel’s girls ready for state

Kelli Miller didn’t need to hand out an evaluation to her Calvary Chapel girls basketball team Saturday after its 37-28 loss to Lincoln County in the Division III Southern League final.

The Lions gave it to themselves.

“They acknowledged that they played horrible and weren’t disciplined in what they were supposed to be doing,” said Miller, in her fourth season  as coach of Calvary Chapel. “They all just agreed ‘That’s done. We just need to focus on training one day at a time and see where that leads us.’ ”

The defeat marked the third straight postseason the Lions lost to their league rival.

“I think there was some pressure,” Miller said. “This was the first year we ever beat Lincoln. So when they had that win in Lincoln back in January, mentally they realized we really can win.”

Calvary Chapel (23-4) heads into its first state tournament since 2003, looking to rebound in a Division III semifinal against Pershing County at 11 a.m. Friday at Orleans Arena. In the other semifinal, Lincoln County faces White Pine at 2:30 p.m. Also Friday, the Division I-A tournament begins at Del Sol, and the Division IV tournament starts at Chaparral.

The inauspicious showing against the Lynx hasn’t deterred Miller and the Lions from running their up-tempo offense against an unknown foe from Lovelock.

“I have no knowledge of (Pershing County) whatsoever, other than their stats and record,” she said. “We played a team from California in December. I told the girls, ‘We know nothing about them, but play your game and we should be fine.’ And we beat them.”

But this is a different setting.

The Mustangs (29-2), the North’s top seed and winners of their past 18 games, are powered by Sarita Jo Condie, a senior guard who averaged 20.5 points per game in the regular season. Calvary Chapel counters with a trio of scorers in freshman Chloe Hammond and juniors Phallen Nelson and Lianne Reyes.

“What’s been great is if one of them has an off night, you can always count on two of them to really step it up,” said Miller, whose team has no seniors.

Hammond is the facilitator. The 5-foot-8-inch guard, who averages 15.5 points per game, is a strong 3-point shooter.

“You haven’t seen Chloe at her best,” Miller said. “She can score like her brother (Drew). She’s not a selfish player at all. She’s absolutely capable of 30 or 40 points a game.”

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