North Tahoe basketball: Incline girls edge Lakers for league title |

North Tahoe basketball: Incline girls edge Lakers for league title

INCLINE VILLAGE ” On a night when the North Tahoe girls were playing catch-up the entire game, hope for a dramatic win still hung in the air following Kelly Hester’s 3-pointer with five seconds left.

But a second later, Incline’s Kelli Cherry sank one free throw, Charlene O’Connor snagged the rebound off Cherry’s missed second attempt and the Highlanders avoided the Lakers’ frantic attempts to foul en route to a 41-39 win Tuesday, clinching the Northern 2A regular-season title for the Highlanders.

North Tahoe coach Scott Conn said the last few seconds, when the North Tahoe girls were chasing Incline to foul, were a microcosm of the game.

“It was us chasing Incline the entire game,” Conn said. “My hat is off to (Incline coach) Bill Devine; he’s done a great job for his first year in the league, a tough league. He gets my vote for coach of the year.”

North Tahoe (7-3 league, 13-10 overall) could have pulled into a first-place tie with Incline (9-1 league, 10-10 overall) with the win. However, as Tuesday was Incline’s second win this season over North Tahoe, the Highlanders clinched the Northern 2A regular season crown with the win, as they hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers.

Hester led North Tahoe with 15 points, while Sydney Courcier chipped in seven points. Shelby Adams (6), Shannon Stack (5), Kea Jolicoeur (4) and Sara Estrada (2) all scored for the Lakers.

Conn was frustrated with North Tahoe’s effort from the free-throw line, where the Lakers went 9 of 23.

“We need to make our free throws,” Conn said. “If we even do 50 percent, we win this game. Incline took advantage of our poor free-throw shooting by fouling us more than we fouled them.”

Incline finished 9 of 13 from free-throw range. Cherry had 10 points for Incline, including 6 of 8 from the line, three of which came in the final minute to help Incline secure the win.

Katie Wright led Incline with 19 points, including two 3-pointers.

“We weren’t worried heading in; we went in with the confidence that we were going to win this game,” Wright said. “I think we’re mentally stronger this year, and we went into this game tonight knowing we could win.”

The Lakers wrap up the regular season with back-to-back home games Friday and Saturday. North Tahoe hosts Silver Stage on Friday, with the girls tipping off at 6 p.m. and the boys at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday the Lakers host Mineral County. Girls are scheduled to tip off at 5 p.m. and the boys at 6:30 p.m.

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