North Tahoe at Incline basketball | Highlanders edge Lakers in thriller | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe at Incline basketball | Highlanders edge Lakers in thriller

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com

Incline boys basketball coach Tim Kelly knows that his Highlanders must bring their A-game any time they clash with rival North Tahoe — because the Lakers are sure to bring theirs.

That was certainly the case on Friday.

In both teams' regular-season finale, the Highlanders pulled off a hard-fought, 51-49 win in front of a spirited crowd packed into the Incline gym.

"That was a really good game by two teams with a lot of pride," said Kelly, whose Highlanders (11-3 league, 19-4 overall) will host the Northern Division III regional tournament as the No. 2 seed this Friday and Saturday.

"I thought (North Tahoe senior forward) Mitchell Myers and (Incline senior forward) Ben Snyder both showed what this rivalry is all about. Those two men played amazingly hard with tons of courage."

The game remained tightly contested from start to finish.

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North Tahoe, which struggled to pull out close wins all season, led by a point with a minute left on the clock. The Lakers had a chance to push their lead to three with a one-and-one opportunity at the free-throw line, but they missed the front end.

The Highlanders raced down the court and misfired on a 3-point attempt, but came up with the crucial loose-ball rebound.

Junior guard Tanner Quenneville then attacked the rim and converted the go-ahead layup while absorbing a foul. He made his free throw to complete the three-point play, putting Incline ahead 49-47.

The Lakers' ensuing attempt on a play designed for Myers did not fall, and Incline senior Cole Steinberg grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws to extend Incline's lead to four, 51-47. North Tahoe answered with a final bucket in the waning seconds, but it wasn't enough.

"We did everything we should do defensively. Offensively, we had some opportunities, but we had some turnovers down the stretch that hurt us," said North Tahoe coach Frank Wright.

Kelly left impressed with the Lakers' effort.

"I honestly think North Tahoe was way better than their record," he said, as the Lakers finished a disappointing 3-11 in league play (11-15 overall). "They just had a few bad breaks during the season and couldn't quite pull off some winnable games. They play hard and Frank did a really good job game planning against us."

Wright said he used a different defensive scheme to keep the Highlanders and their hot-shooting guards in check. It worked as the Lakers were able to hold their rival to well below their season average.

Myers led all scorers with 18 points to go along with his double-digit rebound total, while North Tahoe sophomore guard Trent Lingruen added 16 points, including a timely 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

Kelly said that Snyder had his best game of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Quenneville added 10 points and Tommy Thompson had nine.

Incline girls roll

There were no surprises in the girls game as the defending state champion Highlanders cruised to a 58-28 win to complete an undefeated league campaign.

Incline (12-0 league, 19-3 overall) took control from the opening tipoff and led 19-6 after one quarter and 39-11 at the half.

Senior guard Molly Franklin scored 21 points to lead the Highlanders — just below her season average of 23.2 — while junior forward Kira Porter had nine points and 10 rebounds, Haeden Suter had six points and four steals, and Harmony Bates and Taylor Cheney each had five points.

North Tahoe stats were not available. The Lakers finished 1-11 in league and 2-20 overall.

Playoff picture

Incline will host the Northern Division III regional tournament on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20-21.

In the boys bracket, top-seeded Yerington will face fourth-seeded Pershing County in the semifinal round Friday at 4:40 p.m., while second-seeded Incline will play third-seeded Battle Mountain in a semifinal Friday at 8 p.m. Winners meet for the regional title Saturday at 2 p.m.

For the girls, top-seeded Incline has a semifinal Friday at 6:20 p.m. against either West Wendover or Silver Stage, who have a play-in game Wednesday to determine the fourth seed. Second-seeded Pershing County and third-seeded Yerington square off in the other semifinal Friday at 3 p.m.

The top two boys and girls teams advance to the Division III state championship tournament in Las Vegas.

Northern DIII standings (final regular season)

Girls

x-Incline 12-0 19-3

x-Pershing County 10-2 18-8

x-Yerington 8-4 12-13

x-West Wendover 5-7 9-15

x-Silver Stage 5-7 8-10

Battle Mountain 1-11 4-20

North Tahoe 1-11 2-20

Boys

x-Yerington 13-1 22-4

x-Incline 11-3 19-4

x-Battle Mountain 9-5 20-5

x-Pershing County 7-7 17-9

Silver Stage 6-8 9-11

West Wendover 5-9 9-17

North Tahoe 3-11 11-15

Rite of Passage 2-12 3-17

x-Clinched playoff berth. (West Wendover and Silver Stage girls have a play-in game to determine fourth seed.)