Boys earn league wins over Pershing County, Silver Stage
The Incline boys were up to their old tricks against visiting Pershing County on Friday, slashing to the hoop, gunning 3-pointers at will and creating havoc on defense en route to a 79-62 win.
Incline went on to defeat Silver Stage on the road the following day, 63-40, and defeated Hug, 68-60, in a nonleague game Monday.
“We are exactly where we want to be, in control of our own destiny,” said Incline coach Tim Kelly, whose Highlanders (5-1 league, 13-2 overall) are tied with Yerington and Battle Mountain at the top of the Northern Division III standings. “We’ve played everyone in our league once … and we know that if we stay focused we can achieve our goal of winning league.”
The Highlanders, who have scored over 90 points four times this season — including a 100-point effort against Portola on Dec. 15 — got off to a hot start offensively against the Mustangs (1-5, 11-7). They scored 23 points in the first quarter and 25 in the second to carry a 48-29 lead into the half.
Senior guard Jack Clouthier set the pace with 12 first-half points. He hit four 3-pointers in the game and finished with a team-high 18 points.
His Highlanders connected on 10 of their 3-point attempts in the contest as 10 different players scored. Senior point guard Alex Zissis finished with 17 points, Jack Bessette had nine points, and Ben Snyder and Tommy Thompson each scored seven.
The Mustangs kept the score relatively close with their own hot shooting, as they rebounded after the break to outscore the Highlanders 33-31 in the second half. Sophomore William Gattrell led Pershing County with a game-high 20 points, while Tim Rhodes and Jesus Cruz scored nine points apiece, and Marquis McKinnery had eight points.
After the big home win Friday night, Incline had to grind out its a league victory at Silver Stage the following day. The Highlanders led 15-14 after one quarter and 30-21 at the half. They managed to outscore the Nighthawks 16-11 in the third quarter and 17-8 in the fourth to earn the victory.
“After a big home win it was tough to get motivated, but the boys did what they had to do to win,” Kelly said.
Thompson led Incline with 19 points, Tanner Quenneville had 11 and Zissis had 10.
Kelly was pleased with his team’s effort against Division I Hug on Monday. “They are very fast and athletic and I thought we gave our best defensive effort of the season,” the coach said.
The Highlanders play a rival game at North Tahoe on Friday at 7:30 p.m. to conclude the first half of their league schedule.
“We know our fans are traveling over there and we know their fans will be excited for us,” Kelly said. “They are struggling right now but we are preparing for this game with a zone tournament-like focus. North Tahoe played us tough at the Truckee tournament and we know they have confident basketball players. Rivalry games bring out the best in young people, and I see this Friday being a great showcase of basketball on the North Shore.”
Incline begins the second half of league play with home games against West Wendover and Battle Mountain on Jan. 23 and 24.
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