Truckee basketball | Girls a step ahead with team chemistry
The Wolverines are scheduled to compete in the Varsity Elite Tournament this Friday and Saturday before resuming league play at Fallon on Jan. 2 and at home against Lowry on Jan. 3. The Lowry game tips off at 1 p.m.
Some teams need weeks, months, even years to come together as a cohesive unit.
The Truckee girls had that part dialed well before this season began.
“The good thing is that we have a group of girls who have played together for a really long time,” said second-year Truckee girls basketball coach Dave Shalvis. “They’ve been playing together since the sixth and seventh grade. That’s the good thing. They’re used to each other.”
That familiarity should benefit the young Wolverines squad, which lost six seniors to graduation plus one of its top juniors — forward Anais Fay, who instead is playing club volleyball. Truckee will also miss senior guard Kaylee Neill, who averaged 11.5 points per game last season and earned second-team All-League honors.
Despite the losses, the Wolverines return plenty of talent and added some quality newcomers to help fill the voids.
The team is led by three seniors and returning junior guard Sydney Mock, a deft ball-handler and shooter who received All-League honorable mention last year as a sophomore. Senior guard Marcelle Reynaud and senior forward Taylor Stevens are team captains, while guard Erika Demnyenko rounds out the trio of seniors.
The roster is dominated by six juniors, including guards Karina Nunez and Jennifer Espinoza, and forwards Katie Fisher, Adela Ortiz and Shelby Brooks. Sophomore forward Maddie Monson is the lone underclassmen on the team, and Shalvis expects her to log significant minutes among the starting lineup, which has varied in the early going.
“She’s a solid anchor out there,” Shalvis said of his sophomore, who’s among the tallest players on the team at 5 foot 9. “Not much phases her, and she gives it her all all the time.”
With Reynaud and Mock, the Wolverines boast one of the speediest and sharpest-shooting backcourts in the league. Both players enjoyed fine seasons last year and are even more confident this year, Shalvis said.
“Every year you gain a mental advantage. Marcelle definitely has a mental advantage now that she’s a senior,” Shalvis said, adding that Reynaud, who will share point guard duties with Mock, is the quickest player on the team.
Mock and Reynaud have led the Wolverines in scoring during the early season. But Shalvis expects many players to contribute to Truckee’s offensive production, as well as defensively.
“They’ve all been working on their shooting, so I’m looking for everybody to be contributing this year. It won’t just be one or two people. I think they’re all going to play good offense and defense this year,” the coach said. “It’s a pretty in-depth squad this year as far as who we can put in at 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, all the way through.”
While Truckee is far from the tallest team in the Northern Division I-A — with the 5-foot-9 Monson, Fisher and Stevens leading the way in the height department — the team is athletic and can get out and run the floor.
“I think we’re going to be a very up-tempo team,” Shalvis said. “I think our strong point is going to be the speed of the game. But also if we do slow it down, we’ll still be able to put up some points.”
Shalvis expects Fallon to be the team to beat, as well as perennial powers Elko and Spring Creek. Truckee is off to a 2-1 start overall and 0-1 in league, with the one loss coming at home against South Tahoe.
“I think that we’re going to be right there with everybody,” Shalvis said. “They’re where they need to be, and they’re doing what they need to do. I don’t think we’ve dropped off much from last year. They’ve come together quick.”