The Incline boys are coming off a tough week.
After learning last Tuesday that they had lost junior point guard and leading scorer Orin Porter for the season to academic ineligibility, the Highlanders played a spirited Mount Rose League game at South Tahoe only to come up a 3-pointer short, 60-57, on Friday.
The following day, Incline fell to lakeside rival North Tahoe, 60-51, at home, ending what coach Tim Kelly called "an emotional week."
"I think finding out that Orin is ineligible for the rest of the year put a shock wave into the team," said Kelly, who also was sick during the week, causing him to miss a day of practice. "I think our eight guys have it in them to achieve what we set out to achieve. But it's going to be a difficult road now."
Incline also lost sophomore forward/guard Matt Hanna to injury over the holiday break last month. Together, Hanna (13.8) and Porter (20.5) were averaging 34.3 points a game.
Without their big two, Christian Biscotti led the Highlanders with 19 points against South Tahoe, while Jack Clouthier led the way with 15 points against North Tahoe.
Despite the loss, Kelly was pleased with his team's performance against the larger Vikings, as Incline led for much of the contest before running out of gas at the end.
"We came out and played hard," Kelly said. "We controlled the tempo and what they did. The second half we were hitting 3s and were up by 11 at one point."
But the Vikings picked up their defensive pressure and hit some big 3-pointers down the stretch to edge ahead. Jack Bessette had a final look at a 3 to tie it at the buzzer, but the shot rimmed out, Kelly said.
Bessette finished with 18 points as both he and Biscotti connected on four of their seven 3-point attempts.
Against North Tahoe, after a tightly played first quarter ended in a 14-all tie, the Lakers outscored the Highlanders 12-8 in the second quarter and 11-4 in the third to carry a 37-26 lead into the fourth quarter. The teams traded baskets in an offensive fourth quarter, which played into the Lakers' hands as they held on for the big win.
"We had an enormous letdown Saturday," Kelly said. "But North Tahoe played well. I'm not going to say the only reason we lost is because we didn't play well. They hit big shots and we didn't. We allowed way too many buckets to go in."
Sophomore forward Ben Snyder scored 14 points and Bessette had 10.
The Incline girls, meanwhile, had little trouble defeating North Tahoe 59-37 on Saturday, a day after falling 52-21 at South Tahoe.
Against the Lakers, Molly Franklin went off for 25 points, going 6-of-10 from 3-point range, while Kortney Solis hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points. Kerrie Tonking added seven points as the Highlanders stormed out to a 21-8 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
Franklin scored eight points to lead Incline against South Tahoe, while Solis contributed seven points and Tonking four.