Prep basketball | Truckee girls find groove in second half at North Tahoe
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; The contrast in halves was drastic.
For nearly one half Tuesday night, the host Lakers scrapped toe-to-toe with the larger Wolverines, leading for much of the first quarter as they forced Truckee into multiple turnovers and low-percentage shots. The second half was a different story, however, as Truckee took control with a draping full-court press and a ramped-up offensive effort to run away with a 51-24 Mount Rose League win.
and#8220;Defensively, we came out to play in the second half. That didn’t happen in the first half,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Geoff Stephens, who admitted that the Lakers’ early performance caught the Wolverines off guard.
After Truckee standout center Aleigh Krug opened the game with a pair of free throws, North Tahoe junior point guard Elizabeth Buhler received the inbound pass and drove coast-to-coast through the Truckee defense to tie the score. Senior post Samantha Jeffers followed with a bucket inside the next time down the floor, and senior guard Irene Rojas weaved through the press and converted a layup shortly after to give the Lakers a quick 6-2 lead.
and#8220;They really penetrated well. We didn’t expect them to be that fast,and#8221; said Stephens. and#8220;We were grabbing them and our guards got into foul trouble. I think we underestimated their ability to slash to the hoop.and#8221;
The Wolverines responded, stiffening their defensive pressure while scoring the final five points of the quarter to take a 7-6 lead and#8212; using a basket in the post from Krysta Murphy and a steal and layup from Katey Hamill.
With North Tahoe already in the bonus, Jeffers hit one free throw at the start of the second quarter to knot the score for the final time at 7-all. Truckee then scored the next 10 points, as Courtney Shalvis hit a mid-range banker, Sydnie English sunk a shot from the perimeter, Krug scored off of a post feed and a fast break, and Murphy put back an offensive rebound.
Now trailing 17-7, the Lakers fought back, going on a 7-0 run to bring the score back to three points, 17-14. Senior guard Mago Olivares popped a shot from just inside the three-point line to start the run. Rojas followed with a layup in transition before assisting Olivares on a three-pointer.
and#8220;They found out that they could play with these guys,and#8221; said North Tahoe head coach Rick Buhler. and#8220;Our first six were right there with them. Foul trouble was the big difference. After some of our starters had to come out with a couple fouls, we had to play some girls who don’t know what Truckee is all about.and#8221;
The Wolverines outscored the Lakers 9-4 the rest of the quarter to carry a 26-18 lead into the half.
and#8220;It was one of those things where everybody wanted to do too much. As soon as we start playing team ball, we separate ourselves,and#8221; Stephens said. and#8220;And then we can play all kinds of different lineups and combinations.and#8221;
Murphy scored from outside shortly after the break, Krug converted two layups in transition off of steals, and Sassy Graham drained another outside shot to push the lead to 34-18 with the 8-0 run. Rojas posted North Tahoe’s only two points of the quarter as Truckee closed it out with another 7-0 run.
and#8220;We had a problem breaking the press in the second half, and scoring only two points in the third quarter killed us,and#8221; said coach Buhler, who lamented his team’s decision-making after the half and inability to make easy shots. and#8220;We were not making the right decisions. They knew what to do; they just couldn’t do it. And we’ve got to put in those 2-footers. If we do that, we can compete with them, whereas last year we couldn’t.and#8221;
Krug led all scorers with 22 points, while English finished with 10 points, Murphy six and Graham four. Rojas led the Lakers with six points as Jeffers and Olivares each contributed five points and Buhler four.
Truckee is now 8-5 overall and 2-0 in Mount Rose League play. North Tahoe is 5-8 overall and 1-1 in league.