Early end for Wolverines
The Wolverines finished the season a little earlier than they are accustomed.
The Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ varsity girls’ basketball team was defeated by the Spring Creek Spartans in the first round of the NIAA/US Bank Divisional playoffs, 50-27. The following day, the Wolverines (3-5, 4-9) were upset in the second round by the Battle Mountain Longhorns, 58-49, ending their season before the state playoffs for the first time in three years. In both games, the Wolverines managed to shut down the opposition’s interior offense, filling the lane, but were consequently burned from the outside, with both the Spartans and the Longhorns raining three pointers.
vs. Spring Creek
Erin DeMont came on strong at the end of the season, recording scoring totals of 18, 17, and 16 points in her final three games of the regular season. Against Spring Creek, in the first round of the playoffs held at Fernley High School on Feb. 18, DeMont, in four quarters of play, finished with a goose egg.
“They did a very good job of defending Erin and Lauren Gordon,” Truckee Head Coach Mike Merriman said, “and if we don’t get points from those two, we’re going to be hurting.”
Gordon scored six points and was Truckee’s leading scorer. All 14 players on Truckee’s roster got playing time and the scoring was even, but it was by no means abundant. Heather Shove made a three pointer and a field goal for five points, Ashley Long moved up from the JV team and contributed four points to the effort and Katie Mickelson also had four. Four other players on the Wolverines’ squad contributed deuces.
Meanwhile, Chelsey Wilson was unloading her arsenal. Wilson scored eight first quarter points and finished the game with 13 total, making three of Spring Creek’s five triples on the day. Kelli Miller contributed 11 points to the Spartans’ effort and Michelle Croft and Heather Barrett scored 15 points between them.
Merriman’s game plan was to challenge Spring Creek to make three pointers.
“We filled up the lane, we rebounded well,” Merriman said, “we did a good job, actually. They just made the perimeter shots.”
The loss moved the Wolverines to the consolation bracket, where they faced a do-or-die game against the Battle Mountain Longhorns, with which they split games in the regular season.
vs. Battle Mountain
Since the defensive scheme implemented against the Spartans was so effective, the Wolverines decided to try it against the Battle Mountain Longhorns, a team that had demonstrated a weak perimeter game all season.
While the idea was great in theory, the Battle Mountain girls rose to the occasion and landed a team-best five three pointers in their win against the Wolverines on Feb. 19.
When the Longhorns did drive the lane, the Wolverines were called for fouls and Battle Mountain finished with 28 freethrow attempts to Truckee’s 10.
“[The Longhorns] seemed to want it a little more,” Merriman said. “It’s not that we played poorly, it’s that Battle Mountain just played better.”
Truckee won the first quarter battle, outscoring the Longhorns 9-8. Battle Mountain, however, had the scoring advantage in the remaining three quarters.
Cali Pratt injured her knee after the first quarter, and was replaced by Mickelson, who according to Pratt
DeMont rebounded from her performance against the Spartans by scoring a season high 23 points against the Longhorns.
“Erin, in the second half, was unstoppable,” Merriman said, referring to DeMont’s 14 third and fourth quarter points.
Shauna Murray contributed 10 points to the Wolverines effort and Gordon finished with nine points.
The Wolverines were unable to stop Lacey Bridges and Megan Desmond, who scored 20 and 17 points, respectively. Amy Reeves and Ashley Sego contributed eight points, apiece.
“The girls played hard all year long,” Merriman said, “we just didn’t shoot the ball as well as we needed to shoot.”
Merriman is optimistic about next year’s team. He says that the return of Gordon and Shove with a year’s experience and the addition of the height and speed coming up from the JV team should prove to be a good chemistry.
He says that he’ll be stressing team speed on the offensive and defensive side of the ball and next year plans to “pick up the tempo” considerably.
Division I results in state
Every division I team was eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs, on Thursday, Feb. 24 at Wooster high school. Battle Mountain was defeated by Moapa Valley, 73-41, Yerrington rallied past the Spartans, 61-54, and the Fernley Vacqueros, this season’s division champs, were defeated by Pahrump, 55-50.
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The Truckee girls’ soccer team remains undefeated, picking up a 5-0 win at home Saturday against Churchill County.