Playoffs by a hair
The boys’ basketball team has dodged a lot of bullets the past two weeks. The big ones were the big losses-five in a row leading to Saturday’s game-which threatened any playoff shot.
But Spring Creek, dead last in Northern 3A play at 3-13 (4-22), came to the rescue on Saturday, losing to Truckee, 67-57, and ensuring the sixth and final playoff spot for the Wolverines.
In the Northern 3A tournament, Truckee, 5-11 (6-18 overall), will play against third seed Lowry, 12-4 (16-10 overall). The tournament will be at Rite of Passage’s grounds in Yerington at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
“This week, we’re going to have an intense week of practice getting ready to beat Lowry,” THS’ Brian McMullen said after Saturday’s game. “We’re excited after playing Lowry and Spring Creek.”
This third match-up with Lowry should be a challenge: Truckee has lost both games to the Buckaroos by a combined score of 143 to 100, 77-58 Friday night and 66-42 on Jan. 24.
Truckee also suffered a defeat against Fernley 68-49 on Feb. 12.
Most of Saturday’s scoring was in the second half. The first half score was 25-22 with Truckee in the lead with both defenses shutting down the offenses. McMullen was guilty with 11 turnovers in the game.
An up and down call on Maehler with 1:18 left in the second period gave Spring Creek the ball with a narrow two-point lead. Spring Creek took 14 seconds off the clock on a missed three-pointer and Michael Hoopingarner came down with the rebound with only seconds left. He got fouled after the rebound and the Spartans were over the limit. He made both shots to put Truckee back up by four.
A Truckee foul let Spring Creek come back within three before the half ended at the buzzer.
“The first half we came out really strong, we would have liked to get the ball down the court a little more, though,” McMullen said.
The second half was just as aggressive, but the shots began to fall. With the lead beginning to shrink from an eight-point margin to two points a couple times, heroics were needed to permanently shut down Spring Creek.
That came in the play of Jamie Maehler and Jason Ames.
“We lost a little of our composure,” McMullen said. “Jason (Ames) made a couple really huge shots.”
With a shaky four-point lead, an aggressive fastbreak by Maehler with 34.7 tickers left straight to the basket with a faked shot became a pass to Ames. Ames laid it up for two and a six-point margin.
With 20.7 left, Maehler swatted it out of bounds and then on the next series, got a steal and another fastbreak that turned into another assist to Ames. Ames laid it up again, made the shot for an eight-point margin and took a foul, however he missed the inconclusive free throw.
Once the second Ames shot dropped, Truckee breathed a little easier.
“Alright, we’re going to Zones,” Ames said, thinking back to when the shot dropped. Missing it would have kept the tension in the gym. “It would have been missing Zones, so I’m looking forward (Zones).”
In the waning seconds of the game, Jayvee call-up John Hooper got the nod from coach Mike Gray to finish the game out on the court, helping to mix up the Truckee line-up.
Maehler stepped up with 22 points, going 6 of 8 from the line and an incredible 4 of 5 from three-point range. Ames finished the night with 11 points and nine rebounds.