Highs and Lows: Varsity girls in the playoff
The Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ varsity girls’ basketball team likely secured a third place spot in the playoffs when they defeated the Battle Mountain Longhorns, Friday, 45-43. The celebration was short-lived, though, as, in the game the following afternoon at Spring Creek, Truckee was demolished, 66-24.
“Whenever we play both games [vs. Battle Mountain and Spring Creek] on the same weekend,” Truckee Head Coach Mike Merriman said, “the second game is always a struggle. I don’t know if it’s sleeping in a strange bed or what, but we always have a tough time.”
vs. Battle Mountain
Truckee felt a certain sense of urgency in the game against Battle Mountain. A win secured a spot for the Wolverines in the playoffs and it would complete their first sweep for the season.
So when they finished the first half of the game trailing by three points, a fire entered their collective bellies and they took over in the third, outscoring the Longhorns 17-7. They maintained the lead pretty well in the fourth quarter.
The maintained the lead, that is, until the very end.
With 28 seconds left in the game, the Wolverines had an eight-point lead. Battle Mountain managed to come back in the ensuing 20 seconds – led by Lauren Bridges who made two three pointers – and tied the game at 43 apiece with eight seconds left.
On Truckee’s next possession, Lauren Gordon, the game’s leading scorer with eighteen points, received the in-bound pass and was promptly fouled. With four seconds remaining, Gordon made both free throws and secured the win for the Wolverines.
“We weren’t going to get a shot up,” Merriman said, “we were still on our side of the court. I don’t know why they fouled her.”
The Wolverines shot 63 percent from the free-throw line, making 19 of 30 attempts, while Battle Mountain made good on nine of 24 attempts.
Explaining that the players on the team hated shooting free-throws in practice (because it’s “boring”), Merriman said they came up to him after the game and said “I guess that [practicing free throws] really paid off.”
Heather Shove had eight points for Truckee, Erin DeMont had seven points and Cali Pratt had six points in the victory. Shauna Murray and Leilani Mullin also tallied points in the game.
Amy Reeves led the Longhorns’ scoring with 12 points.
vs. Spring Creek
All but one of the 12 players on Spring Creek’s roster contributed points, with three players scoring double digits. Truckee … well … they didn’t score that much.
Truckee battled for a little bit of the first quarter and finished trailing, 20-12. That was about it. The Wolverines only managed 12 points during the rest of the game and the Truckee defense allowed 46 points.
Kelli Miller led Spring Creek’s scoring with 18 points, Allie McDade had 13 and Chelsey Wilson had 10 points to lead the Spartans’ romp.
Truckee had a remarkable performance by DeMont, who, with 16 points, doubled the performance of the rest of her team. DeMont scored all but two of the Wolverines eight second-half points and 10 of their 16 first-half points.
“DeMont is probably the best pure shooter I’ve seen at this school since Faye Cruz,” Merriman said. Cruz was a part of the Wolverines’ team until she graduated in 1993. Cruz went on to play for Sierra College and, according to Merriman, continued playing after college.
The third-place ranking means that the Wolverines will face either Spring Creek or Fernley in the first round of the playoffs – whichever team finishes in second place. Fernley defeated Spring Creek in the two teams’ first meeting of the season. The Vacqueros and Spartans are due to compete again on Saturday, Feb. 12, starting at 5:30 p.m. Spring Creek must win by more than 15 points to secure first place.
Truckee will play its last game of the regular season tomorrow against the North Tahoe Lakers. The game will begin at 2 p.m. The game will be televised live on Community Channel 6 and re-televised at 7 p.m. the same day.
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The Truckee baseball team came up shy of a state championship last weekend, falling in Saturday’s title game to Virgin Valley.