Incline basketball | Girls edge Yerington in overtime thriller
Northern DIII standings
Incline 9-0 16-3
Pershing County 8-1 16-7
Yerington 6-4 10-11
West Wendover 4-6 8-14
Silver Stage 2-5 4-8
Battle Mountain 1-7 3-15
North Tahoe 1-8 2-16
INCLINE VILLAGE — The Highlanders’ undefeated league record was in serious jeopardy Friday night. Then they tapped into the power of their home crowd.
Visiting Yerington gave the defending state champs all they could handle, taking over the lead in the second half and creeping ahead by as many as eight points midway through the fourth quarter.
Fueled by a loud capacity crowd, however, Incline fought back with a 12-4 run to force overtime. The Highlanders sustained their momentum in the extra period, outscoring the Lions 5-0 to escape with a hard-earned 49-44 win.
“This is a difficult place to play. The energy in this building really helped us at the end,” said Incline coach Indra Winquest, whose team improved to 9-0 in Northern Division III play and 16-3 overall.
The Lions (6-4 league, 10-11 overall), who dealt the Highlanders their only league loss last season, did not make it easy. The visitors kept the score close throughout the first half and edged ahead by three after winning the third quarter 14-6.
Following a free throw and back-to-back buckets by Sarah Sam and Jordan Bobrick to start the fourth quarter, Yerington built its lead to the largest margin of the night, 40-32.
“Their coach did a great job with their game plan. We were not clicking offensively. They threw us off and made us uncomfortable,” Winquest said. “They also did a good job making their shots, but we were not defending well. It took us a long time to get into our defense.”
The Highlanders stepped up their game on both ends of the floor after the Lions’ run.
Senior guard Molly Franklin scored nine of her game-high 30 points in the final four minutes of regulation, while Briana Barraza and Krista Conn each hit a pair of clutch free throws down the final stretch as Incline countered with a 9-0 run of its own to take over the lead at 43-41 with 1:36 remaining.
Yerington’s Francine Summerville made the front end of a 1-and-1 and Korrena Berumen followed with an offensive rebound and putback to give the Lions a 44-43 lead. Franklin answered with a free throw to knot the score with 56 seconds on the clock, and the teams traded turnovers as time expired.
It was all Incline in the four-minute overtime period. Junior forward Kira Porter opened with a contested layup, and Franklin scored the final three points to help secure the win.
“We executed some set plays, and Molly kept battling. She came up huge,” Winquest said. “It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. Everybody is coming at us. Nobody wants to see a team finish undefeated in league.”
Franklin is now averaging 24.6 points through 18 games, which ranks second in the state to Reno’s Mallory McGwire (25.6). The Incline senior has scored at least 30 points on six occasions, with a high of 41 against Whittell on Dec. 9.
Aside from Franklin’s big offensive game, Porter scored six points and Harmony Bates added five, while Barraza created general havoc on defense.
“I asked her to put more pressure on the ball and not let them get set up in their offense. I’m proud of the way she played,” Winquest said of Barraza, a junior point guard.
Shania Frank and Haydyn Thom led the Lions with nine points apiece, and Summerville and Mya Murphy each scored seven points.
The Highlanders have three league games remaining before hosting the Northern Division III regional tournament Feb. 20-21. Incline plays at second-place Pershing County (8-1, 16-7) on Friday and hosts Silver Stage on Saturday at 2 p.m. and North Tahoe on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” said Winquest, who anticipates a tough battle against Pershing County. “We’ve got to get better.”
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