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Boys, girls fall short in playoffs

JAMES BALL, Sierra Sun

The Tahoe-Truckee High School boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams both fell short in the state playoffs in Reno last week; the girls being eliminated in the first round, the boys in the second.

Coming into Thursday’s games, both teams had strong crowd support at Reno High School.

The boys played first, easily beating Virgin Valley 72-56.

Led by junior Mark Logan with 29 points and spectacular dunks at the end of the first and second periods, Truckee had little trouble against the Southern Nevada team.

“It was a good game,” said Truckee coach Dennis LeBlanc. “They were pumped for state play and the senior leadership added to it.”

Senior Cody Haas scored 16, followed by junior Mark Thiel with 15.

The girls took the court next, immediately feeling the pressure – both literally and figuratively speaking – from Mineral County (Hawthorne), which won 74-43.

Hawthorne came out strong in the first with the press, something Mike Merriman and the Wolverines were expecting.

Still, when it came on, Merriman said the Truckee girls faced a mental block.

“They were a little psyched out,” he said. “We were sure they would press hard in the first, but we missed a few early shots before settling down.”

While Truckee was down at the end of the first half, it came back to play Hawthorne nearly evenly in the second half, but the effort was not enough.

Despite Truckee settling down and Hawthorne laying off the press in the third and fourth quarters, the damage had been done in the first half.

When asked if the game went better or worse than expected, Merriman said, “somewhere in the middle. We were hoping to keep it close – like under 20 – so 31 is not what we were hoping for.”

Seven seniors (five starters) graduate, but Merriman is optimistic about next year.

With players like Becca Shook and Erin DeMont returning, he said “we should be pretty good.”

He complimented this year’s squad on its ability to play as a group.

Final game

On Friday, the boys’ team advanced to Lawlor Events Center for the semifinal game against Moapa Valley, losing 63-33.

Hass’s 11 and Logan’s 14 were far below their averages, and LeBlanc credits Moapa’s team strengths for shutting Truckee’s offense down.

“They’ve been together a while and they’re big -6’6″, 6’4″,” LeBlanc said about Moapa. “Last year, they played a late game on Thursday and by the next morning their legs were dead. This year, they had the revenge factor and came in with rested legs.

“I stood there in amazement as our shots didn’t go in the hoop. When that happens, you don’t win the game.”

Truckee will lose seven seniors, three of whom are starters: Tom Hernandez, Taylor Greene and Hass.

LeBlanc said playing boils down to one thing: “You can call time out and talk about it, but sometimes, it’s just not meant to be.”


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