North Tahoe falls in semifinal thriller

Sophomore Cormac Springsteel drives to the basket against Incline.
Justin Scacco /

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The North Tahoe boys’ basketball team had their season come to a close Friday night after dropping a heartbreaker to rivals Incline in the Class 2A Northern League semifinals.

The Highlanders battled back from a first-half deficit at home to claim a 37-35 victory on a game-winning floater with eight seconds remaining.

“(North Tahoe) has done an amazing job of getting better and better,” said Incline Head Coach Tim Kelly. “They gave us a run.”

Both teams struggled shooting the ball from the outset, and it would be drives to the basket that gave Incline an early 11-8 advantage after the first quarter.

North Tahoe gained their first lead of the night with a little more than a minute in the half when sophomore guard Levi Boyd knocked down a 3-pointer. Senior Daniel Joslin then drained another shot from downtown as part of a North Tahoe 10-0 run to end the quarter, giving the Lakers a 22-16 lead going into halftime.

North Tahoe senior Jared Hunt opened  the third quarter with a 3-pointer, giving the Lakers a nine-point lead. Incline, however, began chipping away as North Tahoe missed a number of shots at the rim. A pair of 3-pointers and stingy defense by the Highlanders led to a one-point deficit going into the fourth quarter.

A little more than a minute into the frame, Incline took the lead for the first time since late in the first half, gaining a 32-30 advantage on a pair of free throws by senior James Demarais. North Tahoe’s Boyd, who led the team with 11 points, put the Lakers back up 35-32 with a 3-pointer. Incline then pulled even with two minutes left in the game, tying the game at 35-35 on a free throw by senior Luc Casini.

With the a little more than a minute remaining and the game tied, the Lakers took possession of the ball, but turned it over after the Highlanders forced a jump ball.

Coming out of a timeout, Kelly said he drew up a play for Casini, but “It didn’t work. We got kind of jumbled up.”

A couple passes later the Highlanders got a decent look off a drive to the basket but the attempt was too strong and off the backboard. The ball would be tipped out and find the hands of Demarais, who rattled in a game-winning floater with eight seconds left.

“It was just a wild play,” said Demarais. “It came off the rim and fell in my hands and I just hit a floater. Honestly, I thought it was a little short but it went in and that was the story, that was game.”

North Tahoe sophomore Cormac Springsteel led scored eight points, senior Jared Hunt scored seven points, senior Daniel Joslin scored five points, and junior Rowin Springsteel scored four points.

The Lakers defeated Yerington 39-27 on Thursday to reach the semifinals. The Lakers finish the year with an overall record of 14-7 and a league record of 10-4. The team featured seniors Hunt, Joslin, Skyler Sakrison, Jacob Lutz, Irving Perez, and Cooper Schulze.

Justin Scacco /
Justin Scacco /
Justin Scacco /
Justin Scacco /
Justin Scacco /

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