After upsetting the No. 1 seed Eureka Vandals on Thursday night, Virginia City was poised to make a Cinderella run in the Division IV tournament, but the Muckers had to pump the brakes on that.
Virginia City’s run came to a screeching halt Friday night at Wooster High School when the Muckers fell to the Mineral County Serpents, 46-20.
Virginia City did what it could to slow the pace of the game in the first half and went into the locker room down 20-13 while holding Mineral County to nine second-quarter points. The pace was taken up a notch when the Serpents outscored the Muckers 18-3 in the third quarter and ultimately put the game out of reach.
“I knew (Virginia City) was going to be in zone and we started standing around a little too much early with it, so we had to start passing and getting the ball reversed more times and then start penetrating,” said Mineral County coach Pete Summerbell. “We were hoping we would get a couple of rebounds and get the game quickened up a bit.”
On offense, the Serpent attack was led by center Taylen Wachsmuth and forward Isaiah Crowl, who both proved to be mismatches for the Muckers. Wachsmuth led the charge in the first half and scored all 15 of his points before half time, while Crowl took over in the second half with four 3-pointers in the third quarter and finished with 15 points as well.
“Taylen is our horse,” Summerbell said. “He’s our go-to guy, and so is Isaiah from the outside. He’s a sniper from the 3-point line when they leave him open. That’s his game, but sometimes we can send him down low, too. Until they come out on him we’re going to let him shoot those threes.”
The Mineral County defense inflicted its own damage in the second half, as the Serpents held Virginia City to seven second-half points and held the Muckers’ leading scorer, Colt Hess, to five points on the night.
“We were in man-to-man defense in the first half and we had to go to a 1-3-1 zone in the second half because we had some guys in foul trouble,” Summerbell said. “We just tried to force (Virginia City) to do some different things and we were fortunate to hold them to nothing and they missed the shots they did have.”