TRUCKEE, Calif. - For two and a half quarters Friday night, the visiting Lakers looked intent on spoiling their rival's senior farewell.
With the help of a vocal home crowd, however, the Truckee boys took their first lead of the game midway through the third quarter, then held off a North Tahoe surge in the final minutes to escape with a 48-46 Mount Rose League win to end the regular season.
"We almost had 'em," said first-year North Tahoe coach Frank Wright. "We did miss some free throws at the end, but they (the Wolverines) did a great job of hitting the boards. It was a fun, tough game. It was good preparation for us for zones."
North Tahoe controlled the first half, scoring the first seven points and leading by as many as nine points in the second quarter, but Truckee came alive in the third with some big plays to take over the momentum.
"We decided to start scoring, and then we didn't stop," said Truckee coach Jason Trim.
After a midrange jumper by Mitchell Myers gave the Lakers a 33-26 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter, the Wolverines went on a 13-0 run to close out the period ahead 39-33.
The hosts never trailed again, although the Lakers made things interesting in the final minutes.
Omar Vargas hit a 3-pointer with 4:30 remaining to shave Truckee's lead to 43-40. After a nifty behind-the-back pass from Graham Millie to Aaron Pado on a transition layup, Myers converted a couple of free throws and an outside shot to cut the lead to one, 45-44, with 3:00 on the clock.
Truckee junior Kyle Mello answered with an offensive rebound and putback on the other end before Noah McDermott created a steal in the backcourt and converted the layup to again narrow the lead to one point, 47-46, with just 50 seconds left.
Millie made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 35 seconds remaining to extend Truckee's lead to the final margin. North Tahoe had one final shot, but it missed the mark, and the Wolverines held for their second close win of the season over the Lakers.
"I think we underestimated North Tahoe, based on history, and we came out flat," said Trim, who served as the active head coach as Patrick Irvin sat out a one-game suspension for an ejection. "But the seniors were fired up and the team was excited."
The Wolverines fed off the energy of their crowd, which showed up in force to send off Truckee's five seniors - Millie, Pado, Adam Morgan, David Burnham and Chris Towle, all of whom started.
But the upstart Lakers came in hungry for an upset, as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead to subdue the crowd and led 15-10 after the first quarter. After Truckee cut the deficit to two points in the second quarter, the Lakers went on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to the largest margin of the night, 27-18, when Alex Tyler hit a 3-pointer with about two minutes remaining in the half.
The Wolverines, who drew two technical fouls in the first half, answered with six straight points to close out the half down 27-24.
"We were hitting our shots early and being patient, getting the shots we wanted to," Wright said. "Then we went cold in the second half. But I've got to give them (the Wolverines) credit."
Tyler led the Lakers with 15 points, including nine in the second quarter, while Myers scored 13 points and Colin Spencer had seven. Millie and Morgan were Truckee's leading scorers.
Both teams are postseason-bound. Truckee finished the regular season 11-12 overall and 4-6 in the Mount Rose League. North Tahoe ended at 10-14 overall and 3-7 in the MRL.