Incline basketball: Girls overcome slow start vs. Longhorns |

Incline basketball: Girls overcome slow start vs. Longhorns

Incline sophomore Emily White drives in for two of her 11 points in the Highlanders' league win over Battle Mountain on Saturday.
Sylas Wright / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza |

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After breaking for the holidays, the Incline girls are scheduled to host North Tahoe (0-2) on Jan. 5 at 6 p.m.

INCLINE VILLAGE — Visiting Battle Mountain gave the Incline girls a dose of their own medicine for the better part of one half Saturday — harassing the Highlanders with an aggressive full-court press that created turnovers, easy fast-break points and, as a result, an early lead.

The hosts could only be held in check for so long, however.

The Highlanders picked up their intensity midway through the second quarter and never let up, outscoring the Longhorns 36-17 over the final three quarters en route to a 40-27 win.

“We were just a little overconfident and a little beat down from last night,” Incline coach Indra Winquest said of the start, referring to his team’s 57-37 win over West Wendover on Friday night. “Battle Mountain is a good team, and their pressure got to us early.”

Battle Mountain jumped out to an 8-2 lead and led 10-4 after one quarter. While the Longhorns applied their own brand of pressure defense — forcing the Highlanders into 10 first-half turnovers — they also managed to break Incline’s press with relative ease and settle comfortably into their offense.

With his team also struggling to stop Battle Mountain in the half court, Winquest switched from a man defense to a more effective zone before the half. Incline shaved the lead to one point late in the second quarter before Battle Mountain freshman Sruti Bhakta sank a three-pointer to give the Longhorns a 16-12 lead at the break.

The Highlanders opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to take over the lead, including six straight points by their standout senior forward, Kira Porter, who went on to finish with a game-high 17 points to go along with her 10 rebounds and six blocks.

“The second half we got Kira in position to score and took care of the ball,” Winquest said. “We also cleaned up our offensive rebounds and executed our offense.”

Just as Incline seemed to be pulling away, leading 22-17 after a bucket by senior forward Anne Schrage, the Longhorns put together a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead, 24-22, at the end of the third quarter.

It was all Incline from there.

The Highlanders limited the Longhorns to four points in the fourth quarter while exploding for 18. Sophomore Emily White inflicted the most damage. The athletic guard went off for nine of her 11 points in the frame, including a timely three-pointer that gave Incline a 34-27 lead.

“Emily got us going with her energy on defense and layups on steals. That’s what we need,” Winquest said, adding that junior Harmony Bates also gave the Highlanders a boost with her defense.

Freshman guard Taylor Redfern also helped stabilize Incline’s offense in the second half with her ball handling and finished with four points and three assists. Senior point guard Briana Barraza posted four points and three assists as well, while Bates and Schrage each scored two.

Junior guard Yulisa Vazquez led the Longhorns with 10 points, and Bhakta added eight.

Incline is now 2-0 in league and 7-3 overall. Battle Mountain is 1-1 in league and 7-6 overall.

Against West Wendover (1-1 league, 11-2 overall), Incline led 14-3 after one quarter and went on to win by 20 points, 57-37. Redfern scored a team-high 15 points, while White scored 10, Christine Schwartz nine and Bates seven. Porter and Madison Wallner added six points apiece.

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