Incline basketball | Boys avenge first-round loss to West Wendover
Northern Division III boys basketball standings
West Wendover 11-1
Battle Mountain 8-5
Pershing County 6-6
White Pine 6-6
North Tahoe 5-7
Silver Stage 1-11
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The top of the Northern Division III boys basketball standings got a little tighter Friday.
In a battle between first-place West Wendover and second-place Incline, the Highlanders fed off their lively home crowd to build a double-digit lead by halftime and then held off a late comeback en route to a 79-64 win.
“I’m pretty excited for our guys and our town and school. It’s nice to see this kind of atmosphere in our gym,” said Incline coach Tim Kelly. “This is Incline basketball.”
The win was a redemptive one for Incline, which lost 74-67 at West Wendover on Jan. 3. The Highlanders, who followed by defeating visiting White Pine 75-63 on Saturday and Battle Mountain 82-50 on Tuesday, are now 10-2 in league play (17-6 overall).
West Wendover, which was previously undefeated in the Division III, is 11-1 in league (19-5 overall) after earning a 59-40 win at North Tahoe on Saturday.
Incline used a well-rounded performance to take down the league leaders the second time around.
Four different Highlanders scored in double digits, led by junior point guard Alex Zissis’ 19 points on five 3-pointers, as Incline pulled away in the second quarter for a 47-31 halftime lead.
Senior guard Orin Porter contributed a cool 17 points, while Jack Clouthier found his range and contributed 14 points on four 3-pointers, and Ben Snyder was a force in the post with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Christian Biscotti also had a big game at both ends of the floor and finished with nine points.
With all of its cylinder firing, Incline twice extended its lead to 20 points in the third quarter.
The Wolverines had no intention of going down quietly, however. The visitors made a run after falling behind 58-38 in the opening minutes of the third. With Porter on the bench with foul trouble, West Wendover scored the next nine points to trim the margin to 11.
Clouthier sank a 3 to end the run. West Wendover scored the next four points to again cut into the lead, but again Incline answered with a big 3, this time by junior Jack Bessette as Incline ended the third quarter up 65-53.
West Wendover’s big three, seniors Manny Flores, Kylar Sharp and Kaydn Sharp, combined for three straight buckets early in the fourth, and suddenly the lead was down to single digits, at 68-59.
“I believe in our guys and believe they can do what they need to do. That’s why I was not stressed when they got our lead from (20) to nine,” Kelly said.
Porter returned to the game and, along with Biscotti, hit some clutch free throws to help the Highlanders fend off any comeback hopes. The Wolverines did not help their cause by missing a couple of uncontested layups in the final frame.
“Terrible,” West Wendover coach John Sharp said. “We didn’t come out with any energy. Defensively we played poorly. Anytime a team puts 79 on us, we didn’t get stops. We also missed some easy layups. That could have been a four-point game.
“But I give them credit. They hit their shots, and we didn’t get stops.”
Snyder scored in the paint with about 2 minutes left before fouling out to a standing ovation from the Incline crowd. Porter then slashed to the hoop and Biscotti scored inside as time wound down and the Incline student section flooded onto the court in celebration.
“Ben Snyder had the best game he’s ever played,” Kelly said. “He rebounded and finished. He was incredible. And Christian, he defended as well as I’ve seen him defend.”
The game got off to a chippy start, with four technical fouls in the opening minutes. In addition, West Wendover received a technical for dunking in pre-game warmups, awarding Porter two free throws before play began.
Kaydn Sharp led the Wolverines with 18 points, while Flores contributed 17.
In the Highlanders’ win over White Pine (6-6) on Saturday, Porter scored a game-high 24 points, Zissis scored 13, Snyder had 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Bessette scored 10. Nick Johnson scored 20 to lead White Pine.
Boys whip Battle Mountain
The Incline boys seem to enjoy playing Battle Mountain.
After routing the Longhorns by 38 points, 76-38, in Incline on Dec. 21, the Highlanders repeated the feat with a 32-point victory, 82-50, at Battle Mountain on Tuesday.
“We played so well it was ridiculous,” said Kelly, adding that Incline hit 16 3-pointers in the game, with seven of its nine players contributing at least one 3. “We were hitting our shots, and we also defended really well. We’re flying around on defense.”
Zissis (20), Porter (20) and Clouthier (19) combined to outscore Battle Mountain with 59 points among the three. Clouthier connected on five 3-pointers, while Zissis had five assists, three steals and four rebounds, and Porter had six rebounds, four blocks, five steals and four assists in limited minutes. Snyder contributed six points and seven rebounds, and Tommy Thompson dished out five assists. Biscotti hurt his knee but is expected to return by Friday, Kelly said.
Incline is scheduled to host Yerington in its senior farewell game Saturday at 3:30 p.m.