Jummel Hidrosollo / Special to the Home News
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 | 11:58 p.m.
The Boulder City High boys basketball team won its last 3A state championship 10 years ago. The current squad hopes to mark that anniversary by winning a title of its own.
"It's been a long dry spell and it's nice to get back," Boulder City coach Bobby Reese said. "But our goal isn't just to get there, it's to win it."
The Eagles, the 3A Southern League's No. 2 seed, faces Winnemucca's Lowry High, the North's No. 1 seed, in the state semifinals at 4:40 p.m. Friday at Desert Oasis.
Boulder City is the No. 2 seed after losing to Moapa Valley 63-55 in the league title game Feb. 21 at Desert Oasis. Senior forward Jeremy Smith said he hopes losing the league championship gives the Eagles motivation for the state tournament.
"We have to have that fire in the belly if we want to win," he said. "We have to come back and practice hard and give it our all if we want to win."
After watching their female counterparts win a league title, the boys team tried to give the school a sweep of the league's championships. However, Moapa Valley senior guard Max Jenkins scored a game-high 27 points to rally Moapa Valley to the win.
"We're lucky we have a second chance," Reese said. "Moapa Valley was the better team. I'd like to have an all-south final and see them again."
Jenkins scored 10 of his points in the third quarter as Moapa Valley outscored the Eagles 19-6 and rallied from a 28-23 deficit to a 42-34 lead.
"It was our defense. We let up," Smith said.
Boulder City cut the lead to 58-55 with 38 seconds to go on a 3-pointer by senior guard Alex Dillon, who, along with Smith, scored 12 points to lead the Eagles. Senior forward Shane Levin added 10.
Boulder City could not close the gap any further, and Moapa Valley made five of six free throws down the stretch to extend the lead to eight.
The Eagles reached the title game after upsetting top-seeded Faith Lutheran 62-54 in the semifinals on Feb. 19.
"Faith Lutheran's had a stranglehold on the 3A since they've been here," Reese said. "I felt we had a shot to break it."
With a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Eagles kept Faith Lutheran from scoring a field goal until 56 seconds remained in the game.
"We played phenomenal defense," Reese said. "We needed a good start to get the kids believing, because Faith gave us a thumping last time."
Boulder City used a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter to take a 48-40 lead. Senior guard Joey Western scored all six points, as part of his 21-point performance.
"This was a big game for him. He struggled with a knee injury all year, but he was at full strength tonight and it was a game he really wanted," Reese said.
Brent Hinckley is the Boulder City News sports writer and can be reached at 990-7822 or [email protected].