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Truckee boys edge division opponents, girls fall to 1-3

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

The Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ varsity boys’ basketball team knew the formula it took to beat the Rite of Passage Rams (2-3, 7-12). Demoralize ’em. Knock ’em out early.

There are the good Rams and the bad Rams, and though their division record didn’t demonstrate dominance, Truckee Head Coach Mike Gray – who had coached at ROP for five years prior to coming to Truckee this season – warned his team not to give them any chances. During practice the week before the game, Gray told the Truckee players that if they gave the Rams a glimmer of hope, they were in for a dog-fight.

That was indeed the case.

Despite leading for the first three quarters, Truckee never managed to build its lead over ROP to more than 12 points. The Rams’ attack came in spurts, mostly capitalizing on steals by junior point guard Cesar Alberti who averaged 5.8 steals per game coming into the match-up, and they stayed within single digits of the Wolverines for a majority of the game.

An off-balance, fade-away three pointer by ROP’s Jonathan Harris tied the score at 51 apiece at the beginning of the fourth quarter and the two teams traded the lead nine times in the remaining 7:48 of the game.

Two free throws by Truckee’s Mark Logan with less than five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter sealed the win for the Wolverines, 69-68.

“We got in a lot of foul trouble early,” Gray said, “but, really, it [ROP] was a scrappy little team.”

Truckee finished the first half of the game leading 34-26, and outscored the Rams in both quarters. Usually dominant in the second half, the Wolverines were held at bay, and were outscored in the third and fourth quarters. ROP outscored Truckee 22-16 in the third quarter, led by Harrison who led the Rams with 25 points.

“We didn’t play well early,” first-year ROP coach Dave Smith said, “but we came back late. I’m real proud of the team. What it came down to is Mr. Logan is a real tough player.”

Logan, who is averaging 23.2 points per game this season, had three crucial three pointers, eight fourth quarter points and 35 points total in the Wolverines’ win.

Carson Specht had 13 points in the game and David Larson had 12 points. Truckee had to play a majority of the game without its starting center, Mark Thiel, who got in serious foul trouble in the first half and fouled out early in the second half.

Truckee (6-0, 15-7) has a two and half-game lead over Fernley (which is in second place at 4-3, 14-5) in the Class 3A, Division I, and has defeated all of the division contenders.

Truckee defeated Fernley 77-74 on Jan. 14 at home in the first meeting of the season, but an away win against the same team seemed sure to be a challenge. The Vacqueros have proven themselves to be one of the Wolverines’ most formidable division opponents.

It held true.

Truckee again got a win, 80-69, once again capitalizing on scoring surges and free throws.

“In a lot of respects,” Fernley Head Coach Ross Wilson said, “this game was similar to the one in Truckee.”

Fernley got an early jump and managed to stretch its lead to as many as ten points before the Wolverines rallied late in the second quarter and cut the lead to 38-34 at the half.

Truckee dominated the third quarter, outscoring Fernley 22-11 and mounting a 56-49 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Vacqueros rallied and managed to tie the score at 64 with close to three minutes remaining in the game.

“Foul problems killed us,” Wilson said.

The Vacqueros were outscored 18-8 at the free throw line, many points of which were made in the closing minute of the game, stretching the Wolverines’ lead.

Logan led the scoring with 29 points. Tyler Seldon was the leading scorer for Fernley with 19 points.

Varsity girls vs. Fernley

A strong first quarter performance against the Fernley team only seemed to ignite the Vacqueros’ girls, who proceeded, in the next two quarters, to dominate the Wolverines.

Truckee outscored Fernley in the opening quarter on Tuesday at Fernley, 9-8, but were subsequently outscored 40-18 in the following two quarters. Led by Melissa Ely, who had six second quarter points – 15 points for the game – and Kim Dunn, who had nine third quarter points – also 15 for the game – the Vacqueros won, 57-36, and maintain a first place spot atop the Division I, one game ahead of Spring Creek.

Truckee’s Lauren Gordon was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points, scoring evenly in each of the quarters. Heather Shove contributed eight points for the Wolverines and Shauna Murray had five points.

The loss drops the Wolverines to 1-3, 4-5 on the season, in third place, while the Vacqueros remain undefeated at 6-0.

Junior varsity girls

Playing at Fernley on Tuesday, the junior varsity Wolverine girls’ team was handed its first loss of the season, 39-36.

Deidra Panziera and Vanessa Ramirez had 10 points apiece for the Wolverines while Jamie Froelich and Sydney Stokes each finished with six points. Truckee is now 4-1 in Division I play.

Junior varsity boys

Jason Ames started the ball a-rollin’ and Erik Hanson kept it in motion as the Wolverines’ claimed a home win on Friday night against the ROP Rams, 56-48.

The Rams came out strong, scoring 21 first quarter points. Ames, with nine first quarter points, kept the Wolverines in the game. Hanson kept them there, scoring a game high 22 points. Jarrod Gifford had 12 points for the Wolverines.

Truckee’s defense held the Rams to single digit scoring two of the three next quarters.

“Basically we knew to come out and control the game,” Truckee Head Coach John Halversen said. “We pressed them to slow them down and ran a zone to stop them. When we all play together, we’re a good team.”


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