Wolverines hope for a shot at playoffs; face Spring Creek Friday | SierraSun.com

Wolverines hope for a shot at playoffs; face Spring Creek Friday

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

Thanks to an off-balance shot by Walter Facundo, who was making his first start of the season, the Truckee Wolverines varsity basketball managed to split last weekend’s games against the mighty and the meek of the NIAA 3A.

And a split may have been enough for the Wolverines to sneak into the NIAA 3A Northern Zone Playoffs.

In less than 24 hours, the Wolverines fell to the talented Bishop Manogue Miners before rebounding to avenge a December loss to the struggling Yerington Lions.

Saturday’s win against Yerington solidified the Wolverines’ hold onto seventh place, important because the top six teams in the 3A go on the Northern Zone Playoffs.

Currently, they are two-and-a-half games ahead of eighth-place Spring Creek Spartans, who they play this Friday night in Spring Creek. Truckee beat Spring Creek 60-59 on Jan. 11.

“Out there, [Spring Creek] is always tough to play. They get that crowd behind them, and they’re tough,” said Head Coach Mike Gray. “We need to rebound and establish ourselves early. They are bigger than we are, so we need to rebound.”

The Wolverines trail the North Tahoe Lakers by half a game. They will host the Lakers in their season finale on Feb. 9.

The Wolverines will also play Lowry this Saturday. They hosted ROP Wednesday night, but the results were unavailable at press time.

Last Saturday, Facundo scored on a fast break with only seconds left to give the Wolverines a nail-biting 57-55 victory in Yerington.

Truckee, who the Lions beat for their only league win on Dec. 20, trailed 25-20 at halftime, and 41-36 at the start of the fourth quarter.

But the Wolverines outscored Yerington 21-14 in the final period and put themselves in a position to win by stopping the Lions with just under 10 seconds left in the game and the score tied at 55.

“We got the ball and Walter just streaked up the floor. He was wide open. Dave Larson looked up and passed it to him … Walter caught it off balance, pivoted and made the shot,” Gray said afterward. “Every time we put him in he does good things on the floor.”

Saturday’s game upped the Wolverines’ record to 4-19, 4-7, and continued the trend of winning by the smallest of margins. Three of the Wolverines’ four victories have been by two points or less.

It would have been nice, but few expected the Wolverines to beat the Bishop Manogue Miners in Reno last Friday night.

Truckee managed to hang with Manogue for the first half of their first meeting on Jan. 3, before the Miners pulled away to win 82-59.

The Miners are the defending state champions and are undefeated in league play this year.

They all but locked up the league title again this year with a win against second-place Lowry on Jan. 19.

Manogue kept their unblemished record intact by blowing out the Wolverines, 89-52, last Friday.

Can anybody keep them from repeating as state champs?

“They are a tough team, and you can’t make many mistakes when you play them,” Gray pointed out. “But it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season.”

Therefore, Gray says, everybody has a chance.