Lady Wolverines fall against two-time champs, show they can play with state’s best

Thursday afternoon provided an opportunity for the Truckee girls’ basketball team to measure themselves against one of the state’s best programs.

The two-time defending state champion Churchill County girls’ basketball team hasn’t lost a regular season league game since the 2014-15 season, and though the Greenwave winning streak was extended to 59 games on Thursday at Truckee, the Lady Wolverines showed they could play with the state’s best.

“My girls hung in there really well, and played good defense,” said Head Coach David Shalvis. “They are realizing they can run with anybody. (Churchill County) is an older squad, we’re a younger squad …. there’s something that comes with that age.”

Throughout the afternoon, the Greenwave’s defensive pressure created numerous turnovers, including 15 steals, but Churchill County was never able to deliver the knockout blow during the team’s 50-38 win. The Wolverines would keep the game within 10 points for much of the fourth quarter, but weren’t able to string together enough baskets to truly threaten the Greenwave.

Truckee sophomore Lauren Tanner stood out on both sides of the ball all game long, leading the Wolverines with a team-high 10 points.

“We had a pregame talk about, at some point you’ve just got to go score,” said Shalvis. “And she did. I know they are all capable of that, but I think the nerves of playing the two-time defending, undefeated state champions got to them a little bit.”

On the other end of the court, Tanner was tasked with slowing down one of the state’s best players, Fallon senior Leilani Otuafi.

“We’re lucky we had Lauren,” said Shalvis. “She drew two offensive fouls on (Otuafi) because she beat her to the spot. To me, Lauren Tanner was the difference maker in this game. She played hard defense against Leilani and she was scoring. That was huge.”

Junior Emily Monson added eight points for Truckee. Senior Ava Seelenfreund and sophomore Annika Thayer each tallied six points.

Churchill County’s two best players, cousins Leilani Otuafi and Leta Otuafi, combined for 37 points on the afternoon, and will both play collegiately next year.

Leilani, who will play at Brigham Young University next year, led all scorers with 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Leta, who will play at Utah State University Eastern next season, scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

“They’ve put in a lot of hard work and a lot of offseason basketball, and it shows how good they are,” said Shalvis on the two cousins. “It showed in their desire to take control of this game today.”

Truckee (13-4, 6-4 Northern League) will look to rebound against Lowry (8-7, 7-2 Northern League) on Saturday after having its six-game winning streak snapped. The Buckaroos defeated the Wolverines 50-42 earlier in the season. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.

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