First-year Truckee girls basketball coach Dave Shalvis is unsure who will lead his Wolverines on any given night.
And that’s the beauty of his team, he said.
“I think this year we’ve got personnel at all the right positions. We’re not post heavy or guard heavy. We’re well-rounded this year,” said Shalvis, Truckee’s JV girls coach the past two seasons, as well as this season in addition to his varsity post.
“In years past they were designing plays for specific people. And now I think it’s definitely back to high school girls basketball, where anyone can shine at any time.”
The Wolverines are off to a 1-1 start so far, as they defeated South Tahoe 33-24 in their league opener this past Friday and fell to Division I McQueen 59-44 the following day.
While the team returns a few familiar faces from last season — four, to be exact — it’s a largely new group after losing six seniors to graduation, including league MVP Sydney English, first-team All-League selections Olivia Duner and Katey Hamill, and second-team All-Leaguer Jackie Bolton.
Truckee didn’t lose all of its talent, however. Senior forwards Cassandra Sawyer and Lauren Peak return after receiving All-League honorable mention last season, while the Wolverines boast seven seniors in total and some promising underclassmen.
Aside from Peak and Sawyer, starters include sophomore point guard Sydney Mock and sophomore guard/forward Anais Fay, both of whom are impact players, Shalvis said. Versatile senior guard Kaylee — aka Ned — Neill rounds out the starting five.
“She’s fearless as far as driving the ball, and she’s really stepping up into leadership role,” Shalvis said of Neill, adding that the 5-foot-5-inch senior has the ability to heat up from beyond the 3-point arc as well. Neill shares team captain duties with Peak.
Mock, a speedy and scrappy, 5-foot-3 point guard, has already proven that she can hang with her older competition. Shalvis said she had the skill last year to play varsity — just not necessarily the size.
“We just didn’t think she had enough meat on her bones last year to move her up,” Shalvis said. “At South Tahoe (last Friday), she was on the floor eight to 10 times scrapping around.”
Fay also has impressed the coach in the early going. Shalvis described her as a true small forward, at 5-8 and with an aggressive mindset, solid midrange shot and a desire to bang on the boards. Sawyer and Peak are strong post players with quality varsity experience under their belts.
In addition to the starting five, Shalvis has plenty of options off the bench. Two capable seniors, forward Andrea Bravo and guard Roxanna Ramirez, are out for the team after not playing last year, while the Wolverines also gained senior guard Emily Houghton, who returned to Truckee after moving to Arizona. Shalvis said Houghton, who can play the point, is typically the first player off the bench.
Senior Diana Rosas and juniors Marcelle Reynaud and Tessa Manahan help provide a boost off the bench as well.
“I think we have a chance to go pretty deep this year, at least into the playoffs, as long as we stay tight as a group,” Shalvis said.
As far as the Wolverines’ Northern Division I-A competition, Shalvis expects traditional powers Spring Creek and Elko to be strong once again, and potentially Lowry and Fallon.
“All those mining towns put a lot of time into basketball,” he said. “I’m trying to build our program back up to that level.”