Truckee girls basketball preparing for another run | SierraSun.com

Truckee girls basketball preparing for another run

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTruckee High point guard Kelly Stephens drives to the basket with teammate Logan White on her heels at practice on Monday. The Wolverines' season begins on Dec. 6 when they host North Tahoe.
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The potential is there, as is the confidence and determination.

Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Faith Lutheran in the Nevada 3A semifinal game last season, this year’s revamped Truckee High girls basketball team is poised for another run at a state championship.

“I think we have the potential to do real well,” Truckee head coach Angelo Tenorio said. “I’m really happy with where we’re at right now. We’re pretty close to where we want to be this year.”

Once beyond the early-season fine tuning, Tenorio expects a competent group that is comparable to last year’s, only bigger and possibly better.

“We’re a little taller but we’re still going to be athletic,” the coach said, adding that the Wolverines, like in previous seasons, will continue to pressure opponents with tight man-to-man defense in the back court.

The biggest advantage Truckee holds over last year’s team is its improved post play, Tenorio said. In fact, that probably is the team’s strength, according to the coach. But that doesn’t mean the Wolverines can’t get out and run the floor.

“We can go either direction as far as that goes. We can play big or play the running game,” Tenorio said. “So I’m really happy with how the team looks.”

In terms of putting points on the board, Tenorio is not concerned about the loss of several key scorers to graduation. That void, he said, will be filled by post players Nicole Panziera, a senior, and juniors Breanne Busby and Lindsay Holt, both of whom played varsity as sophomores last season.

“Between the three of them I think they’ll be able to pick up that scoring,” Tenorio said. “They’ve taken it upon themselves to really work hard for us.”

Then there’s speedy senior guards Kelly Stephens and Alexis Fallow.

Stephens, a third-year varsity starter who came up huge with her overall clutch play in last year’s semifinal loss, has confidence in this year’s group.

“We’re a lot further along than we were last year in the beginning,” said Stephens, who has proven over the past two seasons that she is always a threat to come up with the big steal or hit the big three-point shot when her team needs it. “We’re already coming together real well.”

As the team’s veteran, the standout point guard said she hopes to contribute to the Wolverines’ success through leadership and guidance.

“I’m looking forward to pushing the girls hard because I want this to be a good season,” Stephens said. “I have confidence we’ll make it far.”

So does Fallow.

“I think we have a good chance at going to state this year,” she said. To do that, however, Fallow thinks the Wolverines will need to “not miss as many free throws as last year and not (have) as much drama.”

Also one of the team leaders, Panziera shares her teammates’ outlook on the season.

“I think we’re going to do good,” she said. “We’re going to go far. Hopefully, we’ll make it to state.”

While Truckee will rely heavily on its post players for rebounds and points in the paint, its large contingent of young guards will also be a vital component, Tenorio said.

“We’ve got some talented young guards who’ll be able to help Kelly Stephens handle the ball,” he said. “We’re going to work hard to build confidence in the guard play. There’s some real talent there, but they’re still young.”

The Northern 3A is packed with quality teams, Tenorio said, and thus the Wolverines will have to play well in league to earn a shot at the postseason.

If Truckee plays to its potential, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“I’m excited about this year’s team,” Tenorio said. “The girls are very focused and goal oriented. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun this year.”