McKeever takes over, lifts Eagles into final

Boulder City’s girls basketball team was confident heading into a game against a team it had twice beaten by more than 20 points.

Maybe the Eagles were too confident, a fact they might have pondered while they trailed 18-8 after the first quarter and 28-20 at halftime.

But better shooting, fullcourt pressure and Taylor McKeever’s leadership made sure their confidence was justified, as Boulder City rallied for a 54-47 victory over Moapa Valley in the Class 3A Southern League semifinals at Durango.

“Our start of the game was really jittery and nervous, but after halftime and a talk, everyone calmed down and showed their heart for the game,” said McKeever, a junior guard who had 20 points and seven rebounds.

After scoring nine points in the first half, McKeever sparked a third-quarter run that lifted Boulder City into a 32-all tie with 2:55 remaining in the period.

McKeever’s personal run featured a layup, jumper and tying free throw.

“My role as a leader is to tell my teammates never to give up and to have confidence,” McKeever said. “We adjusted as we needed to and Coach just told us to keep shooting.”

Moapa Valley pulled ahead 36-35 on Ashley Noto’s layup with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Noto finished with 14 points.

The Eagles regained the lead 42-40 on a jumper in the lane by Tana Williams with 4:38 to play, and they finished with a 12-7 spurt to take control.

The Eagles (13-9) will play Virgin Valley (18-5) in the final at 6:40 p.m. Saturday at Durango.

■ BOYS — Boulder City nursed a 35-34 halftime lead before Moapa Valley got revved up and rolled to a 74-55 victory over the Eagles in a Class 3A Southern League semifinal.

The Pirates were led by stellar backcourt play by the trio of Josh Thompson, Dakota Watters and Casen Lewis, who combined for 49 points.

Moapa Valley (14-11) will play Virgin Valley (15-9) in the finals at 8:20 p.m. Saturday at Durango.

Thompson dictated the tempo throughout, leading the Pirates with 23 points, including four of their 10 3-pointers.

“I just wanted to push the tempo and get our team going,” said Thompson, who also had five steals and five assists.

“He may be the littlest guy out there, but he plays big in big games,” Moapa Valley coach Dallas Larsen said. “He seems to be in the right spot at the right time. He earns respect every time out by the end of the game.”

Moapa Valley held the Eagles to 20 points in the second half, keyed by the inside presence of 6-foot-3-inch senior Hayden Cooper.

Cooper drew the task of guarding Boulder City’s Nate Hafen, and he limited him to four points in the second half.

“Hayden has been solid for us every game,” said Larsen. “Without his presence and rebounding in there, it does get dicey in terms of rebounding and inside positioning.”

The teams were tied at 35 early in the third quarter, but a spinning layup by Hafen from the left block gave Boulder City its last lead, 37-35.

Thompson responded with a deep 3-pointer from the left wing to put Moapa Valley ahead 38-37, and the Pirates led the rest of the way.

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