Girls basketball team wins bruising court battle
The lady Wolverines do just fine when play gets physical, a fact proven once again in an action-packed 54-48 victory over visiting Yerington Friday night.
“What a game,” said Kelly Stephens, Truckee’s starting point guard.
That it was ” a great game, exciting down to the finish ” as Truckee fought off a relentless Yerington team that kept the game close throughout and made a serious push near the end. But the Wolverines countered each Lions attack, equaling their aggressiveness and eventually breaking down their full-court press.
“They were very physical,” senior guard Felicia Tenorio said of the Lions. “We weren’t expecting it, so we just had to pick it up.”
The teams exchanged leads early before Truckee jumped ahead 17-10 on a couple steals and fast-break layups at the end of the first quarter.
The referees let the girls play by calling very few fouls early on. But as the game progressed and the physical contact increased ” and after a fan hollered for more foul calls ” the whistles began to sound with regularity.
With Truckee leading 23-18 midway through the second quarter, Yerington’s largest player drove Tenorio forcefully into the padded wall along the baseline on a fast break. Truckee fans voiced their disapproval, and a technical foul was issued. Yerington fans, possibly angry about the call, also became boisterous.
The Wolverines started the second half hot, with Tenorio draining a three-point basket to start things off. With Truckee’s full-court pressure defense creating havoc ” and senior small forward Erica Rice and company making it tough for the Lions to get the ball across half court ” the Wolverines turned a number of steals into easy layups. By the end of the third quarter, Truckee had built up a 37-24 lead.
The lead peaked at 40-25, when Stephens knocked down a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter. Desperate for points and running out of time, the Lions picked up their intensity, and their level of physical play.
At 42-31 with 5:30 remaining in the game, a Yerington player draped on Tenorio’s back tried to grab the ball away while reaching over her head. Clearly irked, Tenorio pivoted around and pushed the player, prompting a technical foul.
Tenorio described her emotion on the play, at other times in the game, as “Anger, big time.”
And she wasn’t the only Wolverine getting irritated.
“They were getting in a lot of cheap shots,” Stephens said of the Lions. “The refs weren’t seeing a lot of it. But that’s the game. The refs can’t see everything. It was just a real physical game.”
Yerington began gradually chipping away at Truckee’s lead. Momentum, which had teetered between the teams throughout the game, seemed to slide toward the Lions. But The Wolverines never let up their intensity, even when players started fouling out of the game ” Rice, Nicole Panziera and Amanda Thorsby each picked up their limit of fouls.
The Lions pulled to within 52-48 with less than a minute to play before Tenorio went to the line and sunk two free throws. The remaining seconds ticked off the clock and Truckee escaped with a hard-earned 54-48 victory.
“I was proud of their effort,” Truckee head coach Angelo Tenorio said of his players. “Every time I thought they were going to lose composure they were able to pull it back together and stay in control.”