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All-North Div. III girls basketball: Condie's legacy stretches beyond state titles


1:00 AM, Mar. 16, 2013 EDT

Pershing County High School opened in 1909, which means it waited 101 years for its first girls basketball state championship.

All the Mustangs did after that title in 2011 was win the next two.

It was no coincidence that Sarita Jo Condie was the catalyst for all three -- as well as for the school's first volleyball title this past fall.

"We've had no other athlete like her," said Pershing County coach Steve Cerini, who grew up in Lovelock and has coached at the school for 15 years. "In my opinion, I honestly believe she is easily the most decorated and best athlete we've ever had, boy or girl."

For anyone who saw Condie play, whether against Battle Mountain or bigger powers like Reed and Reno, Cerini's praise is not hyperbole.

And Condie's decoration now includes a third straight RGJ All-North Division III Player of the Year award -- though any are hardly the pinnacle of her athletic résumé. The state titles and her appointment to the Naval Academy, where she will play basketball, fill out that section.

What Condie meant to Pershing County is quantifiable. The point guard scored 2,336 points (19.1 average), grabbed 763 rebounds, dished out 650 assists and had 563 steals in a four-year career in which the Mustangs went 114-8.

But the reverse isn't so easily defined. It is possible the school and town of Lovelock meant more to Condie.

"I really did have a privilege to going to that school. It's hard to explain but it really is an honor to go to that school," she said. "I'll miss how close the community is to sports. Sports in Lovelock are really all that we have and anyone involved in sports there knows how important they are to the community. ... Whatever (legacy) I leave, it's more about the good memories that I take with me. And, hopefully, I helped make some good memories for other people."

Small-town living -- Pershing County's enrollment is less than 150 -- also helped mold Condie into the player she is today.

Before she could shoot on a hoop, her dad Lance, the boys coach in Lovelock, first taught her to dribble. For a family that lived eight miles outside town, this included dropping her off 1 to 2 miles from home so she could dribble the rest of the way on a paved but still country road.

"I did it all the time (between fourth and seventh grades)," Condie said. "I had to dribble a mile before I could go hang out with friends. It was kind of like my household chore. I still had other stuff, too, but I'd wake up and it was, 'You have to do laundry today; you have to dribble today.'"

Condie is just 17 and has not yet graduated. But her high school athletic career is over and her time with the Mustangs was such that is it worth asking: What will be her legacy?

"Only a fool would say we would have had the same amount of success without her," Cerini said. "She is like no other kid because she makes everyone around her better.

"When you talk about legacy, everyone will talk about what she did on the court. But as a coach, I'm going to miss everything she did off the court. The leadership and how humble and unselfish she was.

"She was the poster child you'd want for any program. I would often ask myself, 'How am I worthy of this?' She was more than a once in a lifetime blessing."

 

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Boys Basketball

Rank School Record
1 Elko High School
Elko, NV
9-1-0
2 Lowry High School
Winnemucca, NV
19-2-0
3 Edward C Reed High School
Sparks, NV
21-6-0
4 Galena High School
Reno, NV
7-6-0
5 Reno High School
Reno, NV
10-6-0

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