Incline basketball: Boys take down Longhorns, Wolverines at home
The Incline boys are scheduled to play nonleague games at Wooster on Dec. 29 and at Fernley on Jan. 2 before hosting rival North Tahoe on Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
INCLINE VILLAGE —
The consensus among Northern Division III boys basketball coaches is that, with quality teams across the board, every game is going to be a hard-fought war.
The Highlanders and their opponents confirmed as much on opening weekend.
While Incline is 2-0 after its first two league games, neither victory came easily. The Highlanders needed a big fourth quarter to pull off a 71-62 win over visiting West Wendover on Friday night. Incline then held on for a 52-43 win over Battle Mountain on Saturday.
“We had a bunch of kids who were sick all week, so we just wanted to do whatever we needed to do to win,” Incline coach Tim Kelly said. “The goal was to be 2-0, no matter how we did it, and we’re super excited to be 2-0 heading into Christmas break.”
Against Battle Mountain — which went to double overtime at North Tahoe on Friday night before pulling off the win — the game remained tightly contested throughout. The Highlanders outscored the Longhorns 13-9 in the first quarter and 15-10 in the third, while the league foes matched each other point-for-point in the second and fourth quarters, 14-14 and 10-10, respectively.
Following the evenly matched first quarter, Battle Mountain answered a slashing layup by Incline junior Jon Cromer with a 14-0 run to begin the second quarter. Incline went cold from the field during the stretch, missing shots badly as Kelly subbed liberally in search of the right combination.
Cromer finally ended the Longhorns’ run with a bucket in the paint, and the Highlanders proceeded to hit three consecutive three-pointers to end the half on their own 11-0 run. Cromer hit the first three, Grant Goldenberg followed with another and Joey Stranzl hit the third to give Incline a 27-23 lead at the half.
“That was big hitting those threes at the end of the first half,” said Kelly, who went to a full-court press in the second quarter in an effort to inject life into his team. “The big thing (in the second quarter) was just the tempo. Battle Mountain was controlling the tempo. We had to jump into our full-court press to get going.”
Incline carried its momentum into the third quarter, which ended with the hosts up 42-33. The Highlanders then played a smart fourth quarter, working the clock as the Longhorns tried without success to cut into the lead.
The Highlanders could have put the game away earlier had they made a better percentage of free throws. They finished just 13-of-23 from the charity stripe, with most of the misses coming in the final frame.
Stranzl led the way with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, as well as six assists and three steals. Tanner Quenneville scored 15 points, Cromer had nine and Goldenberg six. Blake Dorian and Miles Piramide finished with 11 points apiece to pace the Longhorns.
Against West Wendover, Incline led 19-11 after one quarter and 30-27 at the half before the Wolverines used a strong third quarter to take a 48-47 lead. The Highlanders stepped up in the fourth, outscoring the visitors 24-14 to pull away.
Stranzl posted a game-high 20 points and had four assists, while Quenneville had 18 points, Jon Cromer had seven points and 11 rebounds, and Matt Cromer scored six points. Senior forward Blake Perry also scored six points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Zade Elton led the Wolverines with 17 points, and Jorge Lopez added 16.
Incline is now 2-0 in league and 6-4 overall. West Wendover and Battle Mountain are both off to a 1-1 start in league.