It’s all over for basketball team
By LARA MULLIN
The lady Wolverines have had a few months of highs and lows, wins and losses, strong playing and not-so-adept moments. On Tuesday night, their turbulent 2000-2001 seson ended with a 56-37 loss to second-ranked Yerington in the first round of league playoffs.
A strong win against the Lakers on Saturday closed out the Wolverines’ regular season and moved the ladies into post-season play as the seventh-ranked team in the league ahead of number eight North Tahoe.
Saturday’s game between the rival neighbors remained within four points until the fourth quarter when the Wolverines pulled out an impressive 17-4 run to defeat a young Laker squad. While the two teams remained tight throughout the course of play, the Wolverines retained control of the game and dominated on the boards with the help of defensive diva Heather Shove.
Coming off a win in high spirits, Coach Mike Merriman and his team were optimistic about Tuesday’s match-up, despite their two previous losses to Yerington earlier this season. Their most recent meeting with the Lions resulted in a 40-62 loss for the Wolverines as the depth and experience of the Yerington bench was too great to overcome.
Tuesday’s game painted a similar case of woe for Truckee, as turnovers and a slow first quarter thwarted their efforts against a solid Lion team. The Lions finished regular league play with the second-best record behind Lowry and will move on to the semifinals on Friday, Feb. 16.
After a season opening that was downright worthy of pulling one’s hair out, the Wolverine varsity boys’ basketball team began to put their game together.
The offense started working cohesively and the boards were no longer dominated by the opposing team’s jerseys.
Coach Mike Gray and his team of varsity rookies started over from the very beginning midway through the season, gaining ground in their play but not enough to see the rewards of post-season action.
Crushing early losses to mediocre teams like Yerington and Spring Creek prompted Gray to revert to the basics – teaching his team how to play hoops like a varsity team. Slowly, the young Wolverines found their bearings and began playing to win rather than simply trying not to lose.
The Wolverines’ most recent games against ROP and Spring Creek were lost by minute margins that could have been made up at the free throw line. Freshman J.R. Murphy stepped up his play and aided the team’s sole veteran Dave Larson in driving the ball down the court. Truckee was beginning to challenge even the most experienced teams in the league, and things were beginning to turn around for the TNT ballers.
Then something happened the season ended. For teams like Manogue and Lowry that practice and play year-round, league play falls in the middle of the season. For Truckee, the middle of the season has only just arrived, yet they are already done for the year and will not resume again until next November.
Saturday’s game against the Lakers was the decisive end to the Wolverines’ 2000-2001 season as they fell to North Tahoe 61-44.
Mirroring a pattern of play that has been no stranger in the Wolverine gym over the last two months, Truckee started out slow and fell to a 34-12 deficit by the end of the first half.
Revving up after a team pow-wow, Gray’s boys came out to match the Lakers in the third quarter and beat them 17-12 in the fourth. Unfortunately, this effort came up short of a win and the door to post-season glory slammed shut. Turnovers and a mere four points in the first quarter were the biggest factors in the Wolverines loss, allowing the Lakers to take charge on the court from the very beginning.
For Coach Gray and his team, this season has been a disappointing one, though it was predicted to be a regrouping year from its inception.
Starter Curtis Robinson is the only graduating senior on the team, leaving Gray with the likes of Larson, Murphy and Jarrad Gifford for a brighter future next year.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.