Hoehn alone at buzzer
What began as a whistle-marred turnover fest in the Truckee High gym turned into yet another entertaining barnburner between the Truckee and North Tahoe high basketball teams Wednesday night.
And while each squad’s effort was deserving of a win, one of the rivals had to lose. Truckee senior Cory Hoehn made sure it wasn’t his team.
A blink before time expired in the fourth quarter, Hoehn rebounded a miss by North Tahoe senior Michael Forte with the score tied at 38. The whistle blared as North Tahoe junior Michele Basile tried to snatch the ball from over the top of Hoehn.
The Lakers were over their limit on fouls, creating a one-and-one opportunity for Truckee’s 6-foot-3 post player.
With :00 showing on the clock ” and with the Lakers’ raucous student section sounding off with school spirit ” Hoehn nonchalantly stepped to the line, bent his knees, zeroed in on his target and released his shot. The ball spun smoothly off his fingertips, arching high before slashing through the bottom of the net.
The Wolverines had won, 39-38.
Truckee students rushed the floor to congratulate the exultant big man.
“The best feeling ever,” Hoehn said of the way he felt immediately following. …”We weren’t going to lose to North Tahoe.”
The nail-biting contest was a little too close for a relieved Keith Crawford, Truckee’s head coach.
“They’re going to make an old man out of me before I’m ready for it,” he said of his players. “I knew going into the game it was gonna be a dog fight.”
A dog fight it was, but not a pretty one from the start.
After more than a two-minute scoreless stretch packed with turnovers, Hoehn finally put two points on the board with a bucket in the paint. The lack of offense continued throughout the quarter, which ended in an 8-3 Truckee lead.
The flow picked up in the second quarter as the Lakers’ Forte ” the reigning Northern 3A MVP ” began to heat up. With Armando Aguilar, Michele Basile and Brent Marple creating havoc for Truckee ballhandlers by way of scrappy full-court pressure, North Tahoe matched the Wolverines at 13 points.
The half ended with Truckee on top, 21-16.
“They really surprised us,” Truckee junior Pat Galvin said of North Tahoe, which fell to the Wolverines 60-23 during the Sutro Classic tournament in Dayton last week. “They came out as a whole different team this time.”
Hoehn felt the same about the Lakers’ effort.
“They surprised me,” he said. “They made a 180-degree turnaround.”
Particularly in the third quarter.
Following a Gavin Novotny layup to start the half, equaling Truckee’s largest lead of the game at 7 points, North Tahoe went on a 15-8 run, led in large part by its stingy man-to-man pressure in the backcourt.
By the end of the third, the Lakers had taken a 31-25 lead as their student section grew more boisterous with the change in momentum.
Forte, who led the Lakers with 21 points, said he thrived off the deafening crowd.
“Definitely. It gave you an extra four inches on your vertical,” he said.
A layup by Taylor Good with about 4 minutes remaining gave the Lakers their largest lead at 35-27.
Truckee then began its run, outscoring the Lakers 12-3 down the final stretch.
Had it not been for the clutch free-throw shooting of Novotny, who finished with 8 points, the outcome would not have gone in Truckee’s favor.
Novotny, a junior guard, sank four of five from the line in the final 2 minutes to help the Wolverines regain the lead at 38-37 with 1:03 remaining.
Hoehn, who led Truckee in scoring with 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds, also was huge down the stretch, as teammates fed him down low for easy buckets.
Galvin, who finished with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds, buried a 3-point basket during the Wolverines’ run, and senior Drew Stewart contributed with an outside shot along the baseline.
David Hansen, head coach of the Lakers, said he was proud of the way his team bounced back from its earlier loss to Truckee.
“I was really happy with their composure,” he said of his team. “That’s a loss I can take.”
The Lakers dropped to 0-1 in league and 2-4 overall. Truckee improved to 1-0 in league and 4-1 overall. The teams meet again at North Tahoe on Feb. 2.
The Wolverines host Jefferson of South San Francisco today at 7 p.m., and the Lakers host Portola Monday at 7:30 p.m.
North Tahoe 3 13 15 7 38
Truckee 8 13 4 14 39
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