Following a 15-point home loss to Silver Stage last week, Incline boys basketball coach Tim Kelly called into question his team's effort. Because it wasn't 100 percent.
He couldn't have received a better response.
The Highlanders bounced back from the loss with three consecutive wins, starting with a 67-26 thumping of Coleville at home this past Friday. They went on to rout Yerington 68-26 on the road Saturday before defeating Virginia City 72-66 on the road Tuesday.
"I wasn't really disappointed against Silver Stage, because I know how good we can be if we give the effort, what we are capable of," Kelly said. "We came out against Coleville and gave the effort I was looking for, and we just carried it over and gave our best effort of the year against Yerington. It was pretty amazing how well we played."
To Kelly's pleasant delight, the Highlanders jumped all over Yerington from the start, outscoring the hosts 24-4 in the first quarter and 24-9 in the second to take a 48-13 lead into the half.
The coach knew his effort message had sunk in from the moment the game started, as the Highlanders won the opening tip, and Orin Porter drove the ball immediately to the hoop "about 200 mph faster than he did the entire Silver Stage game," he said.
"It was just quick. I looked up at the score and all of the sudden it was 24-4. I was like, 'Wow, we're really playing,'" Kelly said.
Incline maintained its defensive intensity in the second half while calling off the dogs offensively, outscoring the Lions 12-4 in the third quarter and only scoring eight points to Yerington's nine in the fourth.
Porter led the Highlanders with 21 points and six assists. Sophomore Matt Hanna contributed 20 points, including six 3-pointers, Drew Bessette added seven points and five steals, Jack Bessette and Jack Clouthier had six points apiece, and Christian Biscotti pulled down 10 rebounds.
Hanna was just beginning to warm up, as the 6-3 guard drained six more 3-pointers against Virginia City en route to a team-high 32 points, on 12-of-22 shooting. He was 6-of-11 from behind the 3-point arc.
"Matt Hanna has been shooting the ball extremely well," Kelly said. "He and Orin both are playing great."
Porter finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Biscotti had 10 rebounds and four assists.
"We played really well against Virginia City. We controlled the entire game," Kelly said. "The way we've played the last few nights really, really excites me. We're doing the small things well. We're deciding to be good defensively. And that's what excites me, because I know we can score. But if we're playing well defensively, we're really tough that way."
Against Coleville, Porter scored 15 points and Hanna 13 as Ben Snyder chipped in nine points, Jack Bessette eight points and Drew Bessette seven. Snyder had six rebounds, and Clouthier and Tommy Thompson each had four assists.
Incline, which improved to 5-5 on the year, will compete in the Rail City Classic at Sparks the rest of the week through Saturday. The Highlanders opened the tournament against Division I Reed on Wednesday night (the game ended too late for print).
The Incline girls, meanwhile, won 53-40 at Dayton last Wednesday before routing Coleville 54-29 on Friday. The Highlanders then lost 52-37 at Yerington on Saturday and defeated Portola 44-29 on Tuesday.
Sophomore Molly Franklin had several big games for the Highlanders, as she scored 26 points against Dayton and 21 points against Coleville. She also scored 12 against Yerington and 13 against Portola, and is averaging better than 15 points a game on the year.
Kortney Solis, who was 3-for-5 from 3-point range, led Incline with 15 points and seven rebounds against Portola, while Kerrie Tonking added seven points and six rebounds. Incline head coach Wayne Nash said Tonking and Solis also played solid games defensively in the post.
Solis scored 11 points against Yerington and Tonking seven, and Kira Porter pulled down eight rebounds. Solis and Tonking each scored 11 points against Coleville, while Solis scored 12 points and Tonking had seven against Dayton. Porter dominated the board at Dayton, finishing with 21 rebounds, including nine offensive.
Incline (4-6) is scheduled to compete in the Monterey Bay Holiday Sweet 16 in Salinas, Calif., Dec. 26-29.