Boys fall by one point to Fernley
After last Friday’s loss to the defending State Champion Bishop Manogue Miners, Truckee Wolverines varsity basketball Head Coach Mike Gray said his team just wanted some respect.
But after Tuesday’s heartbreaking 50-49 loss to the Fernley Vaqueros, his team just wants a win.
The Wolverines will get two chances to do just that this weekend, as they host Spring Creek Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and Lowry at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Led by David Larson’s second half scoring outburst and the play of reserves Zach Sharp and Jason Ames, the Wolverines took their first lead of Tuesday’s game, 49-47, with 41 seconds left on a jumper from the top of the key by Sharp.
On the previous possession, Ames had banked home a short jumper from the low post to tie the game at 47.
The Wolverines then got a turnover on the Vaqueros next possession, but Larson missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Sharp tipped the missed free throw in, but the basket was waved off and Sharp was called for an offensive foul.
That sent Fernley center Tim Hines to the line with 26 seconds left. Hines made his first, then missed his second free throw, but the Vaqueros got the rebound and hit a short jumper after calling timeout.
Down by a point with 8.8 seconds left, Wolverine guard Andre Echenique brought the ball up to mid court, but a bad pass to the closely guarded Larson was easily picked off by Fernley.
The loss dropped the Wolverines to 1-6 overall and 1-4 in league play.
The loss came on the heels of a gutsy effort by the Wolverines against the defending NIAA 3A state champion Bishop Manogue Miners last Friday.
In fact, for much of that game it looked like the Wolverines, to borrow a line from Muhammad Ali, would “shock the world” and beat the visiting Miners.
But in the final 12 minutes, Manogue showed why they are the favorites to repeat as state champs, using their size, depth and experience to win going away, 82-59.
Still, Gray said afterward that his team “stood up” to the talented Miners, earning their respect, and more importantly, establishing some confidence within the Wolverine locker room.
“I told our players [the Miners] are probably the best team we are going to play, but I feel they didn’t respect us. They came in and circled around our gym like they owned it,” Gray said. “But our players stood up to the challenge, and I feel [the Miners] respect us now.”
With key players on both teams in foul trouble for much of the game, the Miner bench proved to be the difference.
“We have 11 players, and all 11 can play,” said Miner Head Coach Anthony Barozzi.
Ten of 11 Miners scored, and three were in double figures.
David Larson and J.R. Murphy led all scorers with 17 apiece, though Larson had only two in the second half.
Gray said Murphy’s offensive outburst was a welcome addition to the reliable scoring from Larson.
“We need J.R. to play like that. We need J.R. to be aggressive offensively,” Gray said. “He can put up those numbers all the time.”
The Wolverines trailed by only a point, 41-40, at halftime, due in large part to the three-point shooting of Larson, Murphy and Cole Boreen.
That, and a hard, yet unintentional foul by Echenique that knocked a Miner player to the floor early in the second period seemed to take the Miners out of their game for several minutes.
The foul did get Barozzi up off the bench, and onto the refs, as he claimed dirty play.
But Barozzi’s antics, instead of firing up his team, got the Wolverine fans behind the Miner into the game, and the coach and fans exchanged barbs for the rest of the game.
Afterward, Gray defended the play of his guard.
“Andre [Echenique] was going after the ball. We don’t teach or play dirty at Truckee High School, but we will make you earn it at the free throw line,” Gray said.
Midway through the third quarter another 3-pointer by Murphy brought the crowd to its feet and Truckee to within four at 53-49. But the Miners would finish the quarter with a 9-2 run and start the fourth period with a 8-0 spurt.