Truckee basketball | Girls, boys grind out wins at Incline

Staff report

Both Truckee basketball teams won their Mount Rose League matchups at Incline in low-scoring fashion on Friday, the girls by a score of 37-31 and the boys 42-38.

In the girls game, both teams played a strong two-thirds zone that limited offensive production, as Truckee committed 35 turnovers and Incline had 27.

The difference in the game was the first quarter, when the Wolverines outscored the hosts 14-8. Every other quarter was dead even, as each team scored six points in the second quarter, 10 in the third and seven in the fourth.

Truckee was led by junior guard Kaylee Neill, who scored 11 points, including two 3-pointers, and Sydnie English, who scored nine points. Katey Hamill added five points, while Lauren Peak, Cassandra Sawyer and defensive stopper Olivia Duner chipped in four apiece.

Incline sophomore Molly Franklin, whom Incline coach Wayne Nash calls “a star in the making,” led the Highlanders with a game-high 12 points (a night before dropping 30 on Portola).

“She’s a player,” said Truckee coach Geoff Stephens, “and fortunately we handled the remaining players, but it wasn’t easy. Coach Wayne does a great job and always has his kids ready to play.”

Truckee improved to 5-0 in Mount Rose League play as the Highlanders fell to 2-3.

The Truckee boys, meanwhile, avenged a blowout loss against Incline on Jan. 10 with a defensive win Friday.

“It was a bit of a defensive struggle, but we played well in the fourth to come away with a hard-fought win,” said Truckee coach Patrick Irvin. “Incline is a very patient team that plays good defense, so it was a good win for us.”

Truckee senior forward Adam Morgan led all scorers with 20 points, while Jack Bessette scored a team-high 14 points on four 3-pointers for the Highlanders.

“Everybody contributed to the win, so I was very happy with the overall team effort,” Irvin said.

The Truckee girls got off to a slow start, to say the least, in their rematch against North Valleys on Saturday, yet someone found a way to win, 38-35.

After losing a close game against the Division I Cougars at home on Jan. 9, the Wolverines found themselves in an early hole as North Valleys stormed out to a 12-0 lead that swelled to 18-1 and 20-4 in the first quarter.

The Cougars (9-11 overall) employed a box-and-one defense to contain English, which worked early as they all but stopped the Truckee offense and beat the Wolverines down the floor for repeated layups.

“We were immediately on our heels,” Stephens said. “We really believed we could man North Valleys, but they had way too much energy to start the game.”

So the Wolverines switched to a zone while mixing up the lineup in an attempt to find some offense.

Neill provided just the offensive boost the Wolverines needed. She came off the bench and hit four 3-pointers in the first half alone, cutting North Valleys’ lead to 10 by halftime.

Truckee’s zone defense stepped up as well, holding the Cougars to five points in each of the next three quarters as the Wolverines clawed their way back into the contest.

“We told the girls before the game, ‘If we can hold Haley Bowen to 25, we can be in the game; if we hold her to 15, we can win.'”

Truckee held the Cougars’ star to 12 points, with eight coming from the charity stripe.

Still down by nine at the start of the fourth quarter, the outside shooting by Neill started to open up the middle. Neill hit one more 3 to start the second half, which paved the path for the post players to get involved and for guard penetration.

Senior forward Jackie Bolton, who went scoreless the night before, came alive and scored nine of her 11 points in the final quarter, working from behind the zone and hitting several shots from the short corner.

Hamill and English rounded out the scoring with seven and five points, respectfully, while Hamill also contributed seven steals and three assists and Duner had four steals and five assists.

“It was a total team win,” Stephens said. “All the girls played and played hard. The bench was completely engaged throughout the game. It was a really great win.”

The Wolverines are now 14-7 overall.

UP NEXT: Truckee is scheduled to host Sparks on Saturday, girls at 2 p.m. and boys at 3:30.

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