Incline girls’ basketball ready to take next step
The Incline girls’ basketball team will enter the upcoming season with aspirations of capturing a Class 2A Northern League title, and will look to build early momentum on Tuesday, Nov. 28, with the team’s season opener at home against Coral Academy of Science — Reno.
The girls should handle business against the small independent private school out of Reno, but will then go on to face much stiffer preseason competition against several Class 3A school’s at Whittell High School’s early December tournament.
After the Whittell Tournament, the girls will jump right into league play against two of Class 2A’s best in Pershing County and Battle Mountain.
“We’re looking to come out prepared and ready to go,” said Head Coach Indra Winquest. “This is going to be a really good league this year, and we’ve got to win those early games … we can’t afford to start off with losses to Pershing County, and then Battle Mountain, or else we’ll be playing catch up the rest of the season.”
Pershing County won the league championship last year, and Battle Mountain finished fifth in the league at 8-6. The Highlanders also finished 8-6 last year, but edged the Longhorns for the final Northern League playoff berth.
Along with Battle Mountain and Pershing County, Winquest also said White Pine, Yerington, and Silver Stage should have formidable squads this season.
This year Incline team will sport more depth, more experience, more athleticism, and will look to play a more up-tempo style of ball, according to Winquest, with the goal of pressing teams, playing man-to-man defense, and creating a lot of turnovers.
“Defensively we didn’t have the personnel to really press like we wanted to (last year), and we weren’t deep, so we had to be careful about minutes and wearing girls out,” Winquest said.
Raining 3-pointers and better chemistry
The Highlanders will be led again this season by junior standout Taylor Redfern.
The Incline guard led the team with 19.7 points per game last season, and connected on more 3-pointers than any player in the state.
“A personal goal of mine is to beat the most 3-pointers in a season record,” Redfern said. “I was really bummed to not beat it last year. Just with all of the snow and the canceled games, it just didn’t work out that way. I’m hoping this year I pull that off.”
Redfern connected on 93 triples in 22 games last year, which is the third most in Class 2A history, according to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, and seventh most out of any class. Pershing County’s Grace Moreira has the Class 2A record with 104 3-pointers in 31 games during the 2012 season.
The Highlanders will also return their second leading scorer from a year ago, wing player Haeden Suter.
“We’re far ahead of where we were last year,” Suter said. “Our team chemistry this year is just amazing. Last year, we had a lot of problems. We had the potential and the skill to win state, but we just couldn’t bring it together.”
“Everyone is willing to play for the team, instead of for themselves, which was a big problem last year. All of the girls now are really selfless and don’t care about anything, but winning.”
Incline suffered a season-ending 46-42 loss to White Pine in the Northern League semifinals last year.
Winquest also highlighted the play of sophomore Madison Corneil, who he expects to make a major contribution on the offensive side with her play at point guard.
“She’s going to take a lot of pressure off Taylor handling the ball, and then we really need her to score,” he said. “We can’t just stand around and just let (Redfern) score … we want teams to know they have to guard every player on the floor.”
In the paint, Winquest said sophomore Serena Faulkner has stood out with her rebounding, turning a weakness from last year into one of the team’s strengths heading into the season.
With improved depth, ball handling, defense, and rebounding, this season’s Highlanders should give fans an exciting year of basketball, which will open with a home contest on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7:30 p.m against Coral Academy.
“We have a lot of really fast girls this year, and girls who are willing to push as hard as they can until they literally can’t run anymore,” said Suter. “Our team is just go, go, go, and we have some really good defensive players too … we’re going to be a team to watch this year. We’re going to be something else.”