By Lou Martin
Desert Dog Anthony Strickland finished a steal with a layup during a Saturday scrimmage at the Rising Star gym.
Photo by Lou Martin

The Nevada Desert Dogs held an open house scrimmage for fans Saturday afternoon at the Rising Star gym in preparation for their opening game against the Vancouver (Canada) Knights Friday, Jan. 12.

Approximately 100 basketball fans oohed and awed as they watched some talented players show their stuff. Dogs were divided into white and black teams with the white squad leading from start to finish to win easily 107-98.

The losing team had no answer for guards Jonathon Lloyd and Anthony Strickland, whose speed and passing kept the Black squad on the defensive most of the game. Dominic Shuler led the Whites balanced attack with 24 points and the 5-foot, 9-inch Lloyd added 16 points.

Their teammates J.J. Mina and Slim McGhee brought applause from the fans with their huge dunks during the game. The Black squad had two prolific scorers in the smooth shooting guard Jamel Peterson who had 5 three-balls on the way to 25 points and forward Jordan Hill who racked up 24 points. Center Luke Cochrane added 15 points in the paint.

Also playing good games for the overall squad were Spencer Mathis, Tyree Murray and Leonard Mitchell who scored well early in the first half of play. Head coach Paul Mokeski and his assistants will have a tough time cutting three more players on Monday to reach their final 12 players.

“We had a good scrimmage today plus I’m happy with the turnout from the community with little notice,” Mokeski said. “We have a good bunch of professional players not high school or college kids. We will be very entertaining and the community will be proud of our competitiveness. We will be out in the community at schools and other events.”

The team went into the stands after the scrimmage to thank the fans in attendance.

Desert Dogs debut Friday night

The Desert Dogs will open their inaugural season Friday evening against the Vancouver (Canada) Knights at the Rising Star gym. The Knights opened their season last weekend, splitting games with the Yakima (Washington) SunKings. The SunKings won Friday’s game 97-84 and the Knights gained a split with a 90-84 victory Saturday. Devon Alexander led the Knights with 21 and 18 points for the two games followed by Darius Cooksey with 15 points per game. The Knights dominated the boards in their first two games and will have a two game advantage playing together.

The Desert Dogs meanwhile look like they will be a run and gun team with the ability to score from anywhere on the court. The Dogs have the ability to play a three-guard offense or load the boards with their big men.

Mokeski will have a difficult time selecting starting guards and big men for the first game. Leading the way for the Dogs should be Lloyd in the back court, McGhee and Cochrane in the middle and pure shooters Hill and Mathis from their forward spots.

Peterson, Murray and Mitchell can come in at any time without missing a step on offense. McGhee no doubt will be a crowd pleaser with his loud outbursts and enthusiastic play. In general, no doubt these will be high scoring games with either team having the ability to score quickly.