Incline basketball is off to a hot start.
The Incline girls rolled to a pair of lopsided wins, 49-34 at South Tahoe on Friday and 62-35 against visiting Hug on Saturday, while the boys earned a couple of more closely contended victories over the larger schools.
The boys held off late comeback attempts in both nonleague contests, winning 65-61 at Division I-A South Tahoe and 55-53 against Division I Hug. Hug is the defending regional champs.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t think we’d be 2-0 right now,” said second-year Incline boys coach Tim Kelly. “But we’re playing pretty well. We had a great weekend.”
Saturday was a big night for the Highlanders, whose home openers were part of the inaugural Incline High School Basketball Hall of Fame fundraiser and dinner.
Five former Incline players were honored during a halftime ceremony of the boys game. A special dinner followed at The Chateau at Incline Village. Inductees included Paul Bryant (class of 1976), Robin Kindred (class of ‘77), John “Coo” Griffo (class of ‘85) and Annie Schlegelmilch (class of ‘87).
“It went so well. It was amazing,” Kelly said of the game and fundraiser, which he intends to make an annual event. “We had five of the greatest Incline players of all time. We had tons of players from the ‘74-75 team. It was unreal. The boys were going nuts. They (the former players) were chanting so loud and were so into the game.”
The Highlanders fed off the live crowd. After entering the half trailing 28-24, they stormed back to outscore Hug 19-9 in the third quarter to take over the lead.
Incline led by as many as eight points in the second half before the Hawks made a late run. But Incline held on for the quality win.
“We talked about having pride in Incline basketball, not to be so worried about playing well in front of all these people, but just to have pride and believe,” Kelly said. “And to knock off Hug is a great achievement.”
Senior Orin Porter led all scorers with 23 points to go along with his seven rebounds, while junior Matt Hanna scored 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Jeremiah Williams scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead Hug.
The Highlanders also trailed by four at halftime at South Tahoe on Friday before building an eight-point lead in the second half and then having to fend off a comeback.
“South Tahoe will finish in the top four in the Division I-A,” Kelly said. “They’re a good team. They play hard.”
Porter, who threw down dunks in both of Incline’s first two games, went off for 27 points, six steals and seven rebounds against the Vikings. Sophomore point guard Alex Zissis scored 18 points and dished out five assists, Hannah contributed 10 points, and junior center Ben Snyder had six points and six rebounds.
Girls off to 2-0 start
The Incline girls received well-balanced contributions in both of their season-opening wins.
The Highlanders led 11-6 after one quarter of play at South Tahoe and 27-16 at the half. They cruised through the final two quarters, using an aggressive press to put the Vikings away.
“We were a little rusty offensively at the beginning of the game, but we played hard on defense and played through it,” Incline coach Indra Winquest said. “We pressed all game, and I think we wore them down by the fourth quarter.”
Sophomore Kira Porter was Incline’s Player of the Game after posting eight points and 13 rebounds. Senior Elise Nelson and junior Molly Franklin scored 10 points apiece, while seniors Kortney Solis and Tori Baker each scored eight points.
After a slow start against Hug, Incline heated up in the second quarter en route to the big win. The Highlanders outscored the Hawks 16-5 in the second quarter, 19-12 in the third and 20-10 in the fourth. They finished with 21 steals, including four apiece by Porter, Franklin and Nelson.
“Our press was very effective against Hug,” Winquest said. “We were forcing them to shoot jumpers, and we had a ton of steals.”
Solis was high point for Incline, as she scored 16 while converting eight of her 10 free-throw attempts to earn Player of the Game honors. Nelson scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, Franklin had 13 points, and Porter had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Baker finished with five assists.