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Eagles advance to state

A triple-overtime victory, a double-overtime loss and a ticket punched to the 3A state tournament — Boulder City High School boys basketball team has had quite a week.

Despite falling to Del Sol 64-62 in double overtime in the Southern Region Championship game on Saturday, Feb. 22, the Eagles have cliched their first state tournament berth since 2012.

“I’m really excited for our guys to make the trip to state,” head coach John Balistere said. “They’ve done a fantastic job of putting themselves in the position to do something special and accomplish something only 12 teams at our high school have accomplished.”

Balistere was referring to the number of state championship boys basketball teams the school has fielded, with the possibility of a 13th on the way given how well the Eagles are playing lately.

Battling down with Del Sol to the wire at Pahrump Valley High School, the Eagles used a strong third-quarter push to force overtime, before falling short.

In an all-around effort, junior Ethan Speaker led the way with 19 points, junior Matt Morton added 16 points, senior Jacob Sanford added 13 points and senior Gavin Balistere added 12 points.

In a thrilling 80-78 triple-overtime victory against Sunrise Mountain on Feb. 20, Speaker led the way with 27 points, while Morton added 20 points. Sanford and Gavin Balistere both added 11 points and senior Mason Hood added 7 points.

“We got huge contributions from both Jacob and Gavin during both games,” coach Balistere said. “Their defense was huge for us — certainly Gavin’s decision making down the stretch. Both of them hit big shots for us. That rebounded well. We should be more than just a one-man team. It was good to see other guys step up when we needed it.”

Needing everyone to step up this week in crunch time, the Eagles will face Northern champion Churchill County today at Reno High School in the 3A state semifinals.

“We’re definitely all super excited to be headed down to Reno for the first time for this city in 11 years,” Morton said. “They will definitely be a huge test for us. Although it’s a state game, we must treat it like any other game and play our brand of basketball and have fun. This is a once in a lifetime experience.”

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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