North Tahoe basketball: Laker girls fall in heartbreaker at Whittell | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe basketball: Laker girls fall in heartbreaker at Whittell

Steve Yingling
Sun News Service

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. and#8212; Somebody forgot to inform the Whittell and North Tahoe’s girls’ basketball teams that no postseason berth was at stake in the final regular-season game on Friday night.

Behind the streaky shooting of senior guard Sara Estrada, the Lakers built a double-digit second-half lead. But Whittell summoned a rally that its fans won’t soon forget, winning on senior night 51-50 and finishing the 32-minute Northern 2A League battle with three freshmen on the court.

Senior point guard Gabriella Tracy triggered the comeback with two three-point baskets in the fourth quarter and a career-high 19 points. But it was twin freshman sisters Amanda and Emily Harris who delivered the decisive plays in the closing seconds. With North Tahoe leading 50-49, Amanda grabbed her ninth rebound of the night, giving the Warriors one final possession to pull out the victory.

The hot-handed Tracy unselfishly dished the ball inside to senior post Isabel Concha-Foley, who was unable to convert, but freshman Emily Harris was able to collect the offensive rebound and put back the tying and winning points with four seconds remaining.

and#8220;We went for it. The last three seasons ended in tears, and I wanted to win tonight,and#8221; Tracy said. and#8220;The crowd was great, and I don’t think I’ve ever played in this gym where the crowd was so pumped up for us.and#8221;

The Harris sisters combined for 13 points and 17 rebounds and earned the respect of Tracy, who watched the gangly duo develop as players after being thrust into the starting lineup because of preseason injuries.

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and#8220;I think they are going to be powerhouses. As they get older and practice more, they are going to tear it up,and#8221; Tracy said.

North Tahoe appeared to have the road win wrapped up while building a 40-27 lead late in the third quarter, but Tracy started to get hot, and coach Tom Esposito’s most-reluctant shooter began pulling the trigger. Tracy hit two runners to pull the Warriors within 40-33 after three periods, and her pair of trifectas allowed Whittell to creep within 47-43 with 3:30 to go. Down the stretch, Emily Harris buried a big baseline shot, freshman Sierra Forvilly cashed in an offensive rebound and Concha-Foley scored off a feed from Tracy.

North Tahoe’s Elizabeth Buhler sank two free throws to give her team a 50-47 lead in the final minute, but Concha Foley’s score in the post set a wild finish.

Concha-Foley finished her Whittell basketball career with another double-double, scoring 11 points and pulling down 18 rebounds. Buhler and Estrada each scored 10 points for North Tahoe.

The win enabled Whittell to climb out of the cellar and finish fifth in the Northern 2A standings at 2-8.

and#8220;They just stepped up,and#8221; Esposito said. and#8220;The two seniors stepped up huge, and when they stepped up, the younger kids said, and#8216;I have to step up, too.’and#8221;