Truckee explodes for season-high 56 points to claim TNT Cup

Gallery caption: Truckee defeated North Tahoe 56-27 to capture the TNT Cup. | Justin Scacco /

For three seasons the Truckee and North Tahoe boys’ basketball teams have battled over a rivalry trophy known as the TNT Cup.

On Tuesday night in Truckee that rivalry was renewed as the Wolverines exploded for a season-high in points to take a 56-27 win and the TNT Cup.

Truckee came into the game on the heels of a poor Monday practice, said Assistant Coach Kyle Bonacum, who is temporarily filling in for Head Coach Sky Nelson.

“We told them at the end, ‘If you guys don’t bring a lot of energy and a lot focus to start the game tomorrow, you’re going to be in trouble because North Tahoe is a pretty good team,'” said Bonacum.

Truckee’s players responded by forcing nine North Tahoe turnovers in the first quarter while going 4 for 6 from behind the 3-point line to build an 18-2 lead. Truckee junior Matthew Tanner led the first quarter outburst, connecting on all three of his 3-point attempts as part of going 4 for 4 in the half.

“They listened,” said Bonacum. “They heard what we were saying and everybody showed up today committed to the game plan and committed to playing really hard defense.”

Truckee continued its hot shooting in the second quarter, hitting 5 of 7 attempts from downtown.

“That wasn’t exactly part of the game plan,” said senior Sam Purgason, who scored a team-high 14 points, on the Wolverines’ shooting performance in the first half. “Slow the game down, less turnovers, take good open shots, get everyone touches — that was the game plan.”

Purgason led the way in the quarter with a pair of 3-pointers during a stretch in which he scored eight straight points for the Wolverines.

For the Lakers, the struggles from the field continued. The team finished the period with one 3-pointer and the rest of its points coming from the free-throw line as Truckee went into the locker room with a 40-11 lead.

The Wolverines cooled off from the field in the second half, scoring 16 points as the team cruised to a TNT Cup victory. North Tahoe freshman Cormac Springsteel led the Lakers with 10 points.

Truckee won the inaugural TNT Cup in 2018 and now leads the series 2-1.

“We shot it really well this game, but we didn’t actually run too much of our offense,” said Bonacum. “We’re still trying to get a lot of guys up to speed on that.”


Truckee is set to open league play today against Lowry, and with the preseason now over, Bonacum said the team’s focus is on improving communication, rebounding, and getting back on defense.

“This squad still has a lot of work to do, and they know that,” said Bonacum. “This team has some pretty lofty goals that they want to get to … they’re committed, they’ve bought in, the effort tonight was fantastic, and so the result was as well.”

With Coach Nelson recovering from surgery, Bonacum, Jeff Loux, Trevor Blake, and Ryan Megnin stepped in to guide the team. All four joined the Wolverines as coaches in November.

“(Nelson) laid all the groundwork,” Bonacum said in an email. “We are just holding things together while he is out.”

Truckee will host Lowry in the West League opener at 6 p.m.

“We’re really confident going into the season,” concluded Purgason.

North Tahoe will head across the lake to play in the Whittell Tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday.

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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