State semifinals have not been kind to the Yerington High School boys basketball program through the years.
So much so, that after his team’s 52-46 win over Mountain View Christian School in the Division III semifinals Friday at Lawlor Events Center, coach Daron Wildermuth looked to the rafters trying to recall the last time the Lions won a semifinal game.
“I believe one other time,” Wildermuth said. “My first year. I’ve always gotten knocked out in the semis by private Vegas schools.”
With their win against Mountain View, the Lions earned a spot in the Division III state championship game, the program’s first since the 1993-94 season.
They will play at 12:50 p.m. Saturday against The Meadows, which defeated Pershing County, 63-54, in the other semifinal. The Meadows beat Yerington, 52-50, in last year’s state semifinals at Sunrise Mountain High School.
“That was our goal,” Wildermuth said. “It’s been a big hurdle to overcome.”
Chris Brown scored 18 points, including a dagger 3-pointer with 53 seconds left that gave the Lions a 50-44 lead.
The Lions led by as much as 10 points late in the third quarter before the Saints closed to 47-44 with 2:05 left in the game.
The Lions ran a little more than a minute off the clock before Brown launched the 3-pointer from the right wing, right in front of his coach, that clinched Yerington’s trip to the final.
“I said ‘Oh no,’ then ‘Yes,’” Wildermuth said. “We were trying to get a quality shot, but not force the issue.”
Yerington never trailed in the game, and after a 3-pointer by Brown put them up 13-8, never led by less than three. Brown had seven points in the first quarter and 12 of Yerington’s 26 in the first half to help it to the quick start, aided by a fullcourt press that Wildermuth said caught the Saints off guard.
“We just want to use it for three or four minutes to get somebody when they’re not expecting it, is all,” Wildermuth said. “We want to use it to force the tempo.”
Sam Hammond added 12 points for the Lions, Daniel Sciarani had nine despite playing with a patch over his right eye and Koby Foster scored 8.
Tevin Gray led Mountain View with 21 points and Terrence Brooks scored 9.