Pair of big basketball games loom for lady Highlanders | SierraSun.com

Pair of big basketball games loom for lady Highlanders

The Incline girls' team hit the road last weekend to play one of the top high school basketball showcases in the west — the So. Cal. Holiday Prep Classic.

With dozens of schools of playing, including nationally ranked teams, Incline was placed in one of the mid-tier brackets, and played in the FIBA Division against several much larger schools.

The Highlanders struggled to start the tournament on Thursday, Dec. 28, suffering a blowout loss to Patrick Henry,

"Everybody got off the plane that day, scrambled over to the gym, and we just weren't really prepared," said Head Coach Indra Winquest. "We just did not make shots, there was no energy, but it was definitely a wakeup call."

Incline would play much better in the following three games, but had a tough time against the larger schools' size advantage and presence in the post. The Highlanders ended with a 1-3 record for the tournament.

"Those teams really worked their offense down into the post, and so we had to adjust everything we do on defense," Winquest said.

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After a loss to Carlsbad and a close 34-28 defeat to Villa Park after leading at halftime, the Highlanders picked up a win in the final game of the tournament in a 32-30 victory over Marshall.

"Even though we lost those games, we were really competitive and I feel like we improved a lot," Winquest said. "Overall, it was a really big team-building experience for us. We improved, worked on some different strategy both offensive and defensive, and it's really going to help us. And the team chemistry just got a lot better with them hanging around each other … it was a big deal for us and I think it's going to help in the long run."

The Highlanders (5-6, 0-2 Northern League) will next jump back into Northern League play when they travel to Silver Stage (2-1, 1-1 Northern League) on Friday, Jan. 5. The teams split their two meetings last season.

Incline will then return home to face Yerington (10-6, 1-1 Northern League) at 3:30 p.m. for their first game on their own court since Dec. 5. Incline swept both games against Yerington last season.

"These are two games that we really have to win or else we're going to be in a hole," Winquest said. "These are two teams that have improved a lot … this is going to be a big test for us. If we can get two wins, we'll be right back in the mix."