Truckee girls defeat Fernley, face defending champs in Northern League semis
The Truckee girls’ basketball team came into the opening round of Thursday night’s Class 3A Northern League tournament as one of the state’s highest scoring teams.
But after a quarter of play against Fernley, the Wolverines were staring at an 11-5 deficit and struggling to find the offensive rhythm that saw the team average 56 points per game during the regular season.
As the second quarter got underway, junior guard Elena Friedman provided the spark for the Truckee attack, burying a 3-pointer as she was fouled for a 4-point play. The momentum swing would lead to a 56-46 victory at neutral site, North Valleys High School, as Truckee rallied back to eliminate the Vaqueros and pickup the program’s first postseason win since the 2010-11 season.
“We got off to a really slow start, and then we got into our groove. The girls fought through their mistakes in the first quarter and came back,” said Head Coach David Shalvis.
“They believe in each other and they support each other just like family. It’s been really good.”
After Friedman, who finished the night with nine points, converted the free throw to complete the 4-point play, the Wolverines continued to chip away at a deficit that was as high as 10 points to tie the game 22-22 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Truckee went to senior forward Ava Seelenfreund, who responded by scoring six points in the period to propel the Wolverines to a 39-31 lead going into the final quarter. Seelenfreund finished her night with a team-high 16 points.
“She showed what maturity a senior has, and does what she needs to do,” said Shalvis. “It gave the rest of them the ability to calm down and win the game.”
Fernley stayed within striking distance throughout much of the fourth quarter until sophomore Emma Cooley delivered the knockout shot, drilling a late 3-pointer to put Truckee up by 10. Cooley finished the game with seven points.
From there, the Wolverines converted free throws to maintain their double-digit lead and earn the program’s first postseason win in several years.
“They played great as a team,” said Shalvis. “They all contributed, it was a team effort.”
Sophomore Annika Thayer scored 13 points for Truckee. Junior Emily Monson scored five points. Sophomore Lauren Tanner scored four points, and senior Tommi Jepsen added two points.
Truckee will next face two-time defending state champions and No. 1 seed Churchill County at North Valleys High School on Friday at 6:20 p.m. The Wolverines lost both meetings to the Greenwave this season, but kept much of the final game between the teams within single digits.
“The girls want to go to state,” said Shalvis. “They’re not done.”