Incline prep roundup: Highlanders hit slopes for year’s first competition | SierraSun.com

Incline prep roundup: Highlanders hit slopes for year’s first competition

Freshman Niklas Pietzke flies down the giant slalom course at Alpine Meadows on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

The 2017-18 high school Tahoe Basin Ski League's season got underway on Tuesday, Dec. 12, with a giant slalom event held at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.

The Incline Highlanders sent a pair of varsity boys to the race and were led by the performance of freshman Niklas Pietzke, who took home an 18th-place finish.

Pietzke got off to rough start in his first run of the year, finishing with a time of 38.20 seconds, but improved his time on his in the final run, coming in with a time of 36.00 seconds for a total time of 1:14.20.

Douglas senior Sean Dunkelman won the giant slalom with a total time of 1:00.70. He also posted the day's fastest run, finishing his opening run with a time of 30.33.

Sam Minke also represented the Highlanders and finished the race with a total time of 1:34.30.

The North Tahoe boys took the team win with four skiers placing in the top five for 214 points. Douglas was second with 204 points.

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The Highlanders didn't have any girls competing at the season opener. The Truckee girls would take a 215-201 victory over North Tahoe, and were led by junior Monique Fellows' first-place finish. The Incline girls were last year's state runners-up.

Racing will continue on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area with another round of giant slalom.

Girls' basketball

After a double overtime win over Mineral County to close out the Whittell Tournament on Friday, Dec. 8, the Incline girls' basketball team hit the road on Tuesday, Dec. 12, for their league opener against the defending Class 2A Northern League champions, Pershing County.

Incline would struggle from the floor against the Mustangs, posting their lowest scoring output of the season in a 47-28 defeat.

The Highlanders (4-2, 0-1 Northern League) connected on just 26 percent of their shots during the game, and were led by junior Taylor Redfern's 14 points. Senior Verenice Sanchez was second in scoring for Incline with six points.

The Lady Highlanders will look to get back into the win column on Saturday, Dec. 16, when they travel to Battle Mountain (6-1, 0-0 Northern League).

The girls will then play in a holiday tournament in San Diego, and won't return for a home game until Jan. 6 when the team faces Yerington.

Boys' basketball

The Class 2A Incline boys' basketball team played a difficult preseason schedule in order to prepare for their league opener on Tuesday, Dec. 12, against the defending Northern League champions, Pershing County.

Unfortunately, Incline ran up against a red hot Mustangs team that went 18 of 36 from the 3-point line as Pershing County stretched their winning streak in league games to 15 after a 79-43 victory over the Highlanders.

Incline kept the game close to start off, trailing 15-12 after the first quarter. But Pershing County went on to outscore the Highlanders 20-6 in the second period. The Mustangs would extend their lead in the second half, outscoring Incline 44-25 over the final 16 minutes. Senior Will Stranzl led Incline with 21 points. Pershing County senior Lane Condie led all scorers with an 8 of 12 shooting performance from the 3-point line for 24 points.

"Pershing is a good basketball team and they flat out beat us but I didn't feel we competed like we are capable of competing. We allowed way too many open 3s, we didn't fly around challenging them at all on the defensive end," Head Coach Tim Kelly said in an email.

"We may not win every game from here on out but we will fly around defensively and challenge and fight for every rebound for 32 minutes every game. This was a gigantic wake up call that we needed."

The Highlanders will look to get back on the winning track when they hit the road on Saturday, Dec. 16, for a contest against one of the league's other elite squads in Battle Mountain (8-2, 0-0 Northern League).