Truckee basketball | Girls edge Elko in overtime, advance to state | SierraSun.com

Truckee basketball | Girls edge Elko in overtime, advance to state

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright / Sierra SunTruckee players celebrate after their 53-47 overtime win against Elko in a Northern 3A regional playoff game Saturday.
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TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Wolverines were not accustomed to that sort of a gut check.

Fighting for their playoff lives in a Northern 3A regional showdown against Elko on Saturday, top-seeded Truckee seemed destined for an early exit after the Indians came from behind to take a three-point lead in the final minutes.

But Truckee and#8212; coming off two straight months of dominant wins and#8212; stormed back in dramatic fashion to force overtime, then capture victory, 53-47, behind the clutch play of standouts Megan Shalvis and Aleigh Krug.

and#8220;I’m speechless. I’m just so excited right now,and#8221; said Shalvis, who iced the game with four free throws in the final 14 seconds. and#8220;I was nervous, but I knew our team could come together and make it work.and#8221;

With the win the Wolverines advance to the 3A State Championship tournament, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25-26 in Las Vegas. They’ll face No. 2 Northern seed Spring Creek, which defeated Fernley in their regional playoff game, to open the tournament.

The Wolverines had to earn every bit of their state berth.

Following an evenly matched opening quarter that ended in an 8-7 Elko edge, the Wolverines heated up offensively in the second quarter to surge ahead to their biggest lead of the game, 24-14, midway through. They led 27-20 at the half.

The Indians steadily chipped away at the deficit after the break, however, crawling back in it with an aggressive man-to-man defense and an accurate shooting touch of their own. They also took advantage of Shalvis sitting on the bench with four fouls.

After a buzzer-beating layup by Krug gave Truckee a 36-35 advantage at the end of the third quarter, the teams traded buckets at the start of the fourth before Elko took a 41-40 lead that extended to 43-40, then 45-42 with 55 seconds remaining.

With momentum on their side, Elko seemed poised to close out the upset win. But the Wolverines had other ideas.

Sara Shontz converted one of two free throws to narrow the gap to two, and Shalvis followed with a steal and assist to a wide-open Sydnie English inside to tie the score at 45-all with 29 seconds on the clock.

Neither team managed to snap the tie as the game went to overtime.

Krug and Shalvis took control in the extra period, combining to score all eight points as the Wolverines held on for the big win. Krug made a field goal and sank both free throws on her 1-and-1 attempt, while Shalvis came through with several key blocks and steals in the waning minutes. Both Shalvis and Krug had a number of blocks in the game.

and#8220;She pulled it out. She does a good job of seeing the whole court,and#8221; Truckee head coach Caroline Bechdolt said of Shalvis. and#8220;When she’s not in there we don’t see the whole court as well.and#8221;

Krug led all scorers with 21 points, while Shalvis finished with 12 and Aly-Coronado Smith seven. Emma Sprout posted a team-high 14 points for the Indians, and Erin Nielsen contributed 11 points.

and#8220;Both teams had a tremendous effort,and#8221; said Elko head coach Dave McCabe. and#8220;We didn’t defend very well. I was disappointed to give up 27 points in the first half. We needed to do a better job of making them earn their points.and#8221;

McCabe said his team did its best to keep the ball out of Shalvis’ hands late in the contest, but despite the sticky defense applied by Nielsen and Tasha Herr, the crafty senior guard still hurt them in the end.

and#8220;We didn’t want to foul Shalvis there, obviously,and#8221; he said, and#8220;but she got the ball, and she’s very hard to defend.and#8221;

Fallon also advanced to the 3A State Championship tournament after beating South Tahoe, 43-27, in their regional playoff matchup, while Spring Creek moved on with a 57-32 win against Fernley.

Truckee and Spring Creek open the four-team state tournament with a semifinal on Friday at 11 a.m. Fallon will face the lone southern representative, Virgin Valley, in the other state semifinal Friday at 2:20 p.m. The winners meet in the state championship game Saturday at 11 a.m.