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Wolverines’ boys clinch division title, 57-46

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

The Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ varsity boys’ basketball team claimed its seventh divisional win of the season at Battle Mountain against the Longhorns, 57-46, and, thanks to a dramatic Rite of Passage Rams victory over the second place Fernley Vacqueros in triple overtime, clinched the Division I title. After reaching the season high on Friday night, the Wolverines were promptly grounded.

Saturday afternoon, after traveling to Spring Creek, the Wolverines were handed their first divisional loss of the season, 63-50 to the Spartans, tainting an otherwise perfect record.

“We accomplished what we needed to accomplish,” Truckee Head Coach Mike Gray said, “but my goal this season was to go 10-0. We just didn’t play well.”

vs. Battle Mountain

One good quarter was all that was necessary against the Longhorns … one very good quarter.

With an invasive press defense, the Wolverines mounted a 17-4 lead in the opening period against the Longhorns. The 13-point lead was enough to sustain them as, for the remainder of the game, Truckee played Battle Mountain point-for-point.

Mark Logan and Mark Theil were the games’ leading scorers with 19 and 16 points, respectively.

Pete Romero led the Longhorns with four three pointers and 14 points. Eric Boltz had 11 points

vs. Spring Creek

The 13-point differential between the Spartans and the Wolverines can be uncovered in a lot of places.

In the teams’ first meeting of the season, for example, one of Spring Creek’s starters, Jason Checketts, was injured and forced to leave the game. The home game against the Spartans was still very close, with Truckee narrowly tallying a win, 60-49, in the closing minutes. This time around, at Spring Creek, Checketts contributed 13 points.

Then there was the free-throw issue. The Spartans had 32 free throw attempts to Truckee’s 13. According to Gray (and Mike Merriman, head coach for Truckee’s girls’ varsity team, for that matter) the officiating in southern Nevada and northern Nevada is different and a very hard adjustment to make.

“I’m not going to blame the officiating,” Gray said. “We never should have been that close. We need to keep a situation like that from happening. That’s not to take away from Spring Creek. Spring Creek did a good job executing what they were trying to do. We didn’t.”

The absence of Peter Kennelly was also an issue. Kennelly sprained his ankle in the win against Fernley last week and was unable to play against Battle Mountain or Spring Creek.

“When Peter’s not here, we’re not as good a team,” Gray said. “We lost by 13 points … that’s Kennelly’s 13 points.”

“We played one of our better games of the year,” Spring Creek Head Coach Jim Haskins said. “We kept them from getting into their rhythm. They were missing Peter Kennelly. I don’t know if not having Kennelly was a part of it, it seems like it might be. I’ve had players missing and it’s tough.”

Kennelly is expected to be able to return in time for the playoffs.

Logan led the Wolverines with 24 points, making four shots from beyond the three point line. Theil had 11 points and David Larson and Carson Specht contributed eight and seven points, respectively.

Sterling Billat was the games’ leading scorer with 25 points. Checketts and Logan Hildreth both contributed 13 points to the Spartans’ win.

Upcoming action

The Wolverines will play their regular season’s grand finale on Friday, at home, against the North Tahoe Lakers starting at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Community Channel 6, live, and will be re-televised starting at 8:30 p.m. the same day.

The Lakers, after a slow start this season, appear to be peaking just in time for the playoffs, tallying road wins this past week against both Spring Creek and Battle Mountain. The Lakers have a 4-5 record and, provided a win in Truckee, a realistic chance of reaching the playoffs.


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