Highlanders seek consistency heading into league stretch
The Incline boys’ basketball team will enter the new year in search of consistency.
The Highlanders have shown flashes of superb play during this season, but at other times have gone long stretches where they’ve struggled on both sides of the ball.
“We haven’t shown a fourth or fifth gear yet when it comes to mentality, or if we have, we’ve shown it in spurts,” said Head Coach Time Kelly. “That doesn’t equal success. I just want us to get out of third gear. It just feels like we’ve been stuck in third gear … I’m really challenging our guys to just push themselves to a gear that we all know we have, that we just haven’t shown anyone yet.”
After a challenging slate of nonleague games and contests against two of Class 2A Northern League’s best teams to start the year, the Highlanders sit at 3-10 overall and 0-2 in league.
The team is most recently coming off four losses to much larger schools at last weekend’s annual So. Cal. Holiday Prep Classic in San Diego, but Kelly said he felt the trip as a whole was a success in terms of team bonding and highlighting areas where the team needs to improve.
“Overall we competed very well. We should have won two or three of the matches we had. We just need to be more consistent with how hard we play and how focused we play all the time … all four games, we’d come out and play great basketball, and then we’d have these gigantic letdowns,” said Kelly.
“We need to go back to the idea that we are a defensive minded team that takes care of the basketball, and finishes all plays with a great rebound. That’s really what the whole trip came down to.”
The Highlanders will have a good shot to get back on the winning side of things on Friday, Jan. 5, with a league game against a Silver Stage squad that has largely struggled to start the year.
The Nighthawks haven’t faced nearly the preseason gauntlet as the Highlanders and have lost their last four contests. The team’s only wins thus far have come against North Tahoe in a tournament game and Class 1A Excel Christian. Incline has topped Silver Stage in each of the teams’ last eight meetings.
The Highlanders will then return home the following day for a 2 p.m. tipoff against league rival Yerington. The two squads split their regular season matchups last season, with each winning on their own floor.
So far this season, the Lions have relied on the duo of senior Kevin Kirk (19.9 points per game) and junior David McFalls (16.7 points per game) to carry most the team’s scoring load.
If the Highlanders can improve their league record to 2-2 this weekend they’ll jump right back into the mix within the league standings. As of Wednesday, Jan. 3, Battle Mountain and West Wendover lead the Northern League with 2-0 records.