Truckee basketball preview: Girls hope to ride defense, quickness to State
Coach Angelo Tenorio and the Wolverines are well aware of the Northern 3A’s prowess in 2009, from defending state champion Yerington to Dayton, Lowry, Spring Creek, Sparks and Fernley.
“It was nice to see the other teams in our league and see what they bring to the table,” Tenorio said after the McQueen Tournament this past week, in which his Wolverines finished second to Yerington after beating a tough Dayton squad.
“League is going to be very competitive,” the coach continued. “There’s not going to be one game that we’ll be able to take off. It’s going to come down to who can stay healthy, stay hot, not turn the ball over at crucial times, and keep their composure.”
Coming off a state runner-up finish itself, Truckee’s prospect of success looks bright as well, despite losing three senior All-League players from last year’s team.
“We’re looking good,” said junior guard Katy Stephens, who earned All-League honorable mention recognition last season. “It looks like we might go to State again, hopefully.”
The path to the postseason has the potential be a rocky one, though, and Yerington stands out as the main obstacle. The Lions essentially return the same team as last season, only with an extra year of experience and a championship swagger.
“They’re still going to be our rival,” said Truckee senior Michelle Hoehn, a post player who provides needed height on a team lacking in that department.
Hoehn said the Wolverines make up for their lack of size with “quickness and ability to get up and down the court.” And while the team is younger across the board than last year’s group, Hoehn said its chemistry is as strong as ever.
“This year, with the way we all work together, I think we can succeed and go far,” she said.
Truckee’s swarming defense carried it through the preseason, which Tenorio stacked with tough nonleague games against 4A programs. Although the Wolverines took some licks against the larger schools, they also proved they could compete when on their game.
“I definitely think it was good,” Hoehn said of the challenging schedule. “We still have a lot to learn, but it helped us prepare for league ” and Yerington.”
Truckee’s offense has sputtered at times in the early going, especially when facing teams with size at the post. Tenorio has emphasized the need to improve in that area, and it starts with every player looking for the opportunity to score ” as opposed to dishing off to their leading scorer, sophomore guard Megan Shalvis.
“We’re trying to improve offensively as far as being a balanced-scoring team. We need to work on our post moves, because the girls are going to be facing a lot of (taller players). And our guards have to score for us,” Tenorio said.
“This year’s team is a little bit younger and less experienced scoring, so we really need to work hard coming together and take on the challenge of becoming a good offensive team. Hopefully our defense will (help lead to offense).”
Stephens, for one, is confident the Wolverines can get the job done.
“We’re a small team this year, but I think we’re just as good as last year. We’re just good and bad in different areas,” she said.
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