The Incline girls basketball team finished 2-1 against larger schools in the Reno High School Winter Challenge Tournament this past weekend.
The Highlanders began the tournament with a 39-34 comeback win against Fallon on Thursday. They followed with a 34-29 loss to Division I Galena on Friday and ended with a 53-11 rout over Sparks on Saturday.
“All-in-all I was pleased with how the tournament went,” said Incline coach Indra Winquest. “I thought we should have beaten Galena, but we played pretty well overall.”
Incline needed a comeback effort to take down Fallon, as the Division I-A Greenwave led most of the game and by as many as 10 points in the second half.
The Highlanders, who had struggled all game offensively, Winquest said, picked up their defensive pressure in the fourth quarter, creating steals and scoring quick buckets on fast breaks. The result was a 15-0 run that turned the game around for Incline.
Molly Franklin contributed a clutch 3-pointer down the stretch en route to a game-high 19 points. Kortney Solis scored 10 points and Kerrie Tonking six, while Kira Porter had nine rebounds.
Winquest said the Highlanders did not play their best game against the Galena Grizzlies, who hurt them on the boards and with second-shot opportunities.
The coach said he switched to a 1-3-1 zone the last five or six minutes, which worked to a degree as Incline pulled to within three points on a big 3-pointer by Solis late in the contest. But that was as close as the Highlanders got.
“We let that one slip away,” Winquest said. “That was a big school that we could have beat.”
Franklin scored a game-high 15 points and Elise Nelson scored seven.
Incline took it to Sparks early, outscoring the Railroaders 22-1 in the first quarter and carrying a 35-4 lead into the half. The Highlanders then held the Railroaders to two points in the third quarter and five in the fourth.
Franklin had 20 points to lead all scorers, as she made six of her 12 shots from the field and was 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Sarah Wright came up big with nine points, five rebounds and two steals, while Solis contributed eight points, Porter six, and Tonking five.
Incline, which will play four games in the Whittell Tournament from Thursday through Saturday, is 4-1 on the season.
Boys face stiff competition
Incline’s boys, meanwhile, went 0-3 against a California power and two Division I programs at the Wild West Shootout at Bishop Manogue.
The Highlanders started with a 61-39 loss to Servite (Calif.) on Wednesday. Incline then lost 56-46 to Galena on Thursday and 73-56 to Douglas on Friday.
Incline junior Matt Hanna took home a trophy nonetheless after winning the slam dunk contest Thursday night.
Hanna was awarded a score of 10 on his first dunk. But he wasn’t done. He followed by catching an alley-oop pass off the backboard and throwing it down, bringing the gym to its feet.
Senior teammate Orin Porter, meanwhile, was voted to the All-Tournament team.
Incline coach Tim Kelly said he was pleased with his team’s effort later in the tournament, as the Highlanders played a solid game against a good Douglas team with only six healthy players. He was not satisfied with Incline’s execution against Servite, a team Kelly coached from 2008 to 2011.
“Servite shot the ball very well against us, but we didn’t challenge them the way I wanted to,” Kelly said. “We have to match aggressive teams with aggression, and we didn’t do that on Wednesday. Servite was ready for us and we need to be ready to compete every day.”
Kelly said the high points for the Highlanders were Jack Bessette and Dylan Comstock off the bench.
Incline picked up its game against Galena but couldn’t finish when it needed to. The Highlanders trailed by only three points after three quarters and pulled to within two points with minutes to go in the game. Despite multiple opportunities to tie or take the lead, they never did.
“I was much happier with the attitude our guys brought on Thursday,” Kelly said. “It still isn’t what I expect from this team, but the boys knew that it was much more like an Incline basketball effort.”
Porter finished with 20 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks, while Hanna chipped in nine points and Ben Snyder added five rebounds.
The Highlanders were shorthanded against Douglas, as junior point guard Alex Zissis got banged up the first night and Tommy Thompson had a baseball showcase game. Jack Clouthier remains out with a broken foot from football season.
Nevertheless, Incline battled and trailed by only nine after three quarters.
“The effort was high again; I’m not going to say great, but it was on par with Thursday,” Kelly said. “We have to understand that rebounding and defending is how we will beat the bigger schools. We can’t outscore them. We need to box out and challenge shots. Douglas deserves credit, though; they outran us in the fourth quarter and turned a nine-point game into a 20-point game.”
Snyder led the defensive charge. Guarding 6-10 James Harrick, the big junior battled and finished the game with 10 rebounds, a block and a charge.
“Ben was a beast for us,” Kelly said. “His effort is a constant for us. I was really proud of his effort in the tournament.”
Comstock had 10 points, Christian Biscotti hit four 3-pointers to finish with 12, Hanna finished with six, and Porter led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds.
Incline competes in the Whittell Tournament this week.