Truckee basketball preview | Girls have size, skill for title run
Points should flow freely in the paint for the Wolverines this season. And if not, something is seriously wrong.
The Truckee girls’ basketball team boasts considerable height and talent in the post, plus speedy guards with the skill to deliver the ball to their bigs.
Combine that ability with a positive attitude and a burning hunger to bring home a 3A state championship, and first-year head coach Geoff Stephens could not be happier with the team he inherited before the season.
and#8220;The girls are looking terrific. They have a great attitude and lofty goals,and#8221; said Stephens, a longtime Alder Creek Middle School and Truckee JV girls’ coach, as well as a varsity assistant, before taking over the girls’ program this past winter for Caroline Bechdolt, who stepped down.
and#8220;We did interviews with them where they had to fill out a form with questions, and I think every one of them talked about the elimination of drama compared to previous years. And the other major one was that they want to win state, not just go to state. That’s the big difference this year, is that they are very committed to each other.and#8221;
Last year’s team came close to achieving its goal, playing into the state championship tournament in Las Vegas before losing to Northern 3A power Spring Creek, 49-37, in the semifinal round. The loss ended a 14-game win streak as Spring Creek went on to win the title.
While the Wolverines lost Mount Rose League MVP Megan Shalvis to graduation, they return one of the most capable post players in the state in 6-3 senior Aleigh Krug, who already has signed a letter of intent to play at Portland State. Krug was good last year. But this year, after playing club ball in Sacramento over the summer, she’s lights out, Stephens said.
and#8220;Like night and day,and#8221; the coach said of Krug’s improvement in the past year. and#8220;She’s our big dog, and I told our girls, and#8216;When our big dog is barking, you better feed her.and#8221;
Aside from Krug, Truckee also returns junior guard/forward Sydnie English, who was voted to the All-League first team last season, as well as senior post Krysta Murphy and junior post Jackie Bolton, both of whom received honorable mention recognition. All can bang in the paint and score, while senior Courtney Shalvis adds even more size at around 5-10, and senior Sassy Graham can play inside or out, Stephens said.
Truckee’s guard play should only complement its size, as the speedy Katey Hamill and Claire Roberts trade off holding down the point guard position, while Carly Maurer, Olivia Duner and Ashley Harris provide additional depth.
With so many solid players, Stephens has the luxury of mixing up the starting five on any given night.
and#8220;Maybe the most beautiful thing about this team is that we have 11 players, and all 11 will be in our rotation and#8212; and I could start probably nine different players,and#8221; the coach said. and#8220;Aside from a couple of seniors like Aleigh Krug and Krysta Murphy, I think it’s pretty wide open. We’ll use different matchups based on who we are matched up against.and#8221;
Stephens said if there’s one thing the Wolverines need to improve, it’s their outside shooting. But that will come with time, he said. And even if not, the shots are welcome so long as Truckee’s bigs are in place to rebound.
and#8220;We should be dominating the boards,and#8221; Stephens said. and#8220;We’re very strong. We’re not a great outside shooting team yet, but we want them to take that shot because I think we can clean up the garbage. I see very few teams staying with us on the boards.and#8221;
The teams most likely to stand in Truckee’s way are the same beasts from the east that traditionally play deep into the state tournament, Stephens said and#8212; namely Spring Creek and Lowry, which always have big, physical teams, and perhaps Elko. The coach also expects Virgin Valley, last year’s state runner-up and a 49-42 winner over the Wolverines in the Lowry Invitational last week, to contend for a title.