Boys’ hoops: Crawford finds winning combo in final quarter
It took Truckee coach Keith Crawford three quarters to find the winning combination he was looking for when his Wolverines visited rival North Tahoe in the Northern 3A league opener for both on Wednesday night.
In a 44-38 Truckee win, the combination turned out to be Drew Stewart, Jamie Maehler, Kevin Embertson, Chris Peeden and Nick Cabral. The fivesome forced two critical turnovers and scored four straight points to give the Wolverines (3-5, 1-0) the momentum and a three-point lead with less than two minutes to play.
In the end, how long it took to find the winning quotient was irrelevant to Wolverines head coach Keith Crawford because his squad that had dropped four in a row coming in is now 1-0 in a wide open Northern 3A league with no real favorites.
“It took me a while,” Crawford said, “but when I found them I stuck with them, and they were able to pull it out.”
The Lakers (5-4, 0-1) rebounded from the three-point deficit to lock the score at 38, but Crawford’s combination found a way to score again. Following a timeout with 1:21 left, Embertson flashed to the post, received an open pass and scored a basket over the Lakers’ 6-foot-9 center Ken Munsterman.
“I asked him to roll to the basket,” said the Wolverines first-year head coach. “I knew if he did he would be open. He did a good job of putting it in.”
Despite having less than a minute to play, the Lakers had two chances to even the score. Sam Farhner missed an open seven-foot jump shot from the wing, then B.C. Lampman failed to convert on a three-point attempt. The Lakers were forced to foul and Truckee earned the game at the stripe.
“To hold a team to the low 40s, you should win,” Lakers coach Dave Hansen said.
It was fitting that the game came down to the final minute. Both teams played each other close throughout, and the game featured six lead changes with no one establishing more than a six-point advantage.
“That game could have gone either way,” Hansen said.
Both teams started slow, shooting only 29 percent from the field, and went into the locker room knotted at 19-19.
“Everyone was uptight about this game,” Crawford said. “I had to tell them to relax at halftime.”
The Lakers seemed to settle in most after the first half, scoring on three out of their first four possessions. The team built a six-point lead early in the third quarter behind two steals for easy buckets by Lampman.
“We have a press-breaker that works,” Crawford said. “We were just rattled.”
The Lakers quick start faltered when the team failed to score on its final nine possessions of the quarter. Truckee capitalized on the freeze to even the score and take a five-point advantage.
The hot-cold symptom plagued the Lakers in the fourth quarter, too. The team scored on four out of its first eight possessions to take a 35-34 advantage. However, three consecutive turnovers iced any momentum gained and Truckee was able to take a three-point lead.
The Lakers evened the score when Munsterman rebounded a missed free throw by Lampman and banked it in for two, but that was the last offense the team managed. Embertson scored on the following possession and Truckee made two key stops to pick up the win.
“I might have over-relied on my three key guys (Lampman, Farhner and Cameron Scott),” Hansen said.
Lampman played all 32 minutes of the game and led the team with 18 points. Munsterman added 14.
Truckee was led by Maehler with seven, while Embertson and Stewart both chipped in with six points.
The Truckee junior varsity boys’ basketball team (6-2, 1-0) never trailed in a 52-30 win over North Tahoe on Wednesday.
“Team defense and rebounding was the key to our win over the Lakers,” said Truckee head coach Mike Hoehn.
Below are the Truckee statistics leaders:
– Cory Hoehn: 11 points, 15 rebounds
– Kyle Rinella: 9 points, 3 steals
– Gavin Novotny: 6 points, 1 steals, 1 assists
– Jeremy Adams: 6 points, 3 steals
– Brian Cordell: 5 points, 10 rebounds
– Cole Froelich: 4 points, 2 steals, 3 assists