Incline boys’ basketball tips off at home tonight
As sixth- and seventh-graders, this year’s Incline boys’ basketball team was the first group through the Tahoe Kings Basketball program.
Now, as upperclassmen at Incline High, the Highlanders have their sights set on returning to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
“Everyone knows we built Tahoe Kings basketball, and it was built with this group,” Head Coach Tim Kelly said. “This group was the first ever Tahoe Kings group when they were in sixth grade and Will (Stranzl) was in seventh grade. And now here they are.
“We have talked about since they were in sixth or seventh grade, that when (Stranzl) was a senior and these guys were all juniors, that we could do something really special, and that’s the expectation.”
Stranzl is the Highlanders only senior, but comes off a year in which he averaged 17.9 points a game and earned first team all-league honors.
“He’s our all around best player. He was our best player last year and was one of the seven best players in the conference last year, really he can do everything.”
The team will also benefit from the return of junior point guard Jackson Littleton, who missed the second half of last season with a concussion. Incline will also return junior Ian Smith, who averaged 12 points per game in league, while netting 70 3-pointers over 14 games.
“We feel like this is one of the best teams that we’ve had, and we’ve had some good ones,” said Kelly. “These young men have expected to be good for six years and now here we are.”
This year’s team will also have decent size with Stranzl at 6-foot, 1-inch, and junior Liam Nolan-Bowares at 6 feet, 3 inches.
After a 10-15 record last year, and a fifth straight trip to the regional tournament, the Incline boys are looking for a better outcome in 2017-18, and will depend on physical, man-to-man defense to create scoring opportunities on offense.
“If there is a style of play I would say we are a hard-nosed, man-to-man, get into you, attack you on both sides of the ball team, and that’s how we play.”
The Highlanders tip off the season at home against Coral Academy of Science — Reno tonight at 6 p.m.