5 is the loneliest number…
At the conclusion of Monday night’s games, the varsity basketball teams found themselves in similar situations – with time running out on a season that is slipping away.
Adding another league loss to the Dayton Dustdevils, the Truckee High School basketball teams now have five league losses in the Northern 3A. Fortunately, with eight league games remaining in Truckee’s league schedule, they still have time to turn it around.
“We take every game one at a time,” said varsity girls’ head coach Angelo Tenorio, “and we still have a chance to make the playoffs. We just need to win some of these games coming up.”
Oddly, 14 games into his team’s schedule, Tenorio is still trying to find an effective combination of players that will allow his team the best chance to win.
“We’re just trying to find a group that can work together,” he said, “trying to find that group that can start a game.”
On Monday, the girls’ demise was spotting Dayton a 17-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“For whatever reason in their mind they’re so used to starting slow,” the frustrated first-year coach said as he shook his head. “It’s not a lack of confidence, it’s just that they’re a little unsure of what they’re doing at times, or they’re afraid to make a mistake.”
After losing 50-35 (minus the first quarter, Dayton wins by one, 33-32), Truckee is 1-5 in the Northern 3A and 5-9 overall. One could sense the frustration among players when the girls came out of the locker room.
“Most of it is we start out too flat,” said Jacqueline Diaz, who scored six points off the bench in the fourth quarter. “We don’t have high enough intensity right from the get go, and it takes us a while to get interested in the game. It’s unfortunate, but we got to figure out how to get past that.”
But Diaz, one of seven seniors on the team, is also frustrated with the inconsistent player management. Referring to the variety of starting lineups Tenorio has used, she said:
“This year we have a new coach, and I think that’s how (Tenorio) likes it,” she said. “This year seems like a brand new year. Honestly, I think he’s preparing more for next year than concentrating on this year.”
The leading scorer for Truckee was junior Crysta Weed, who had seven points and six rebounds. Junior Katie Malone had a solid game with four points, five rebounds and four steals.
Dayton’s menaces to Truckee were center Amanda Sbragia and Maggie Williams. Williams had 15 points, and the tall, lengthy Sbragia kept Truckee players in check in the paint.
“She controlled the boards,” Tenorio said. “We weren’t able to get two and three shots. (In general) She limited us to one shot inside.”
Sbragia scored 19 points, and her and Williams combined for 34 of Dayton’s 50 points.
Bad luck also fell on Truckee, which had many shots go in and out on the night. Truckee also missed some easy inside shots, as Truckee’s closest comeback attempt was getting within 13 halfway through the third quarter.
The Dayton girls are now 3-4 in league and 8-8 overall.
For the boys, it was the opposite story. Dayton outscored Truckee 21-11 in the fourth quarter, breaking a 33-33 tie to start the final period.
“We should have had that one,” said Drew Stewart, a freshman guard who earned a starting position around the time league play started. Stewart led the team in scoring with 15 points, hitting three three-pointers on the night.
“I didn’t think I would (be starting right now), but it just turned out that way,” said Stewart, the only freshman on a young varsity squad. “When I started the season, I was a little timid, but as the games went on I got more and more confident.”
Stewart has been a bright spot on a team that has lost four straight in the Northern 3A to drop its record to 2-5, 5-13. The frustration has grown because Truckee is losing games to teams in the middle of the pack, not just division leaders Bishop-Manogue and Rite of Passage.
“Yeah, we are a little (frustrated),” Stewart said. “This weekend we played pretty bad.”
Stewart is alluding to two losses on Friday and Saturday, culminating with a 76-20 loss to Lowry.
Two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Dustdevils, one that put them up 40-35 and another late in the game that provided a nine point lead.
Truckee lost by a final score of 54-44. Senior Brian McMullen scored nine points for the Wolverines.
For both teams, the optimistic outlook is that eight more league games is enough cushion to earn a low seed in the league tournament – but the challenge is winning most of those games. The top six teams in the Northern 3A are awarded a spot in the league tournament starting Feb. 19.
The Truckee junior varsity boys won 55-51, and the JV girls won 58-25.
The records will be different as of today, since Truckee played at Yerington last night. Truckee travels to North Tahoe Thursday and then plays Yerington in Truckee on Saturday.