The Incline boys got back on the winning track by sweeping through their five games in the Whittell Tournament last week.
The Highlanders started with a 74-61 win over Whittell on Wednesday. They followed with a 76-52 win over a quality Bishop team on Thursday, a 72-54 win over White Pine and a 62-46 win over Lee Vining on Friday, and a 73-47 win over Mammoth on Saturday.
Orin Porter, Ben Snyder, Matt Hanna and Alex Zissis all were named to the all-tournament team. Porter would have been MVP had there been an award, said Incline coach Tim Kelly. The senior guard scored 89 points and grabbed more than 40 rebounds, despite sitting out the Lee Vining contest.
“I was very happy with our week,” Kelly said. “Going 5-0 and winning the Whittell tournament is great right before huge battles with Pershing County and Battle Mountain this Friday and Saturday.”
Whittell, Incline’s former Division III rival and a first-year member of the DIV, came out fired up to open the tournament. Led by sophomore point guard Palmer Chaplin, who finished with a game-high 27 points, the Warriors stormed out to an early lead and carried a five-point advantage into the half.
Incline regrouped at the break and took control in the third and fourth quarters, outscoring the hosts by 19 to pull away.
“Whittell is going to be very good in Division IV,” Kellky said. “It’s the only time we play each other this year and it was a great environment. Their crowd of students and parents were fired up. I think the Incline boys got their first taste of how every team we play is going to be fired up to play against us.”
Porter had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Hanna added 19 points and seven rebounds, and Alex Zissis contributed 17 points. Snyder had 10 rebounds and Christian Biscotti nine.
Kelly was pleased to pick up a big win the next day over Bishop, which won the Dayton Tournament the week prior, beating ROP by 30, Silver Stage by 11 and Truckee and Dayton.
“We talked about this being our toughest game and the boys responded,” Kelly said, adding that Porter, Snyder and Biscotti combined for 30 points as the Highlanders dominated the boards.
“We ran very well because we rebounded well. All of our success this year depends upon us boxing out on every possession and starting our fast break,” Kelly said. “If we hit someone and own the defensive boards then we are tough to play against.”
Porter led all scorers with 29, while Snyder hit double digits with 12 and Tommy Thompson scored 12 off the bench.
Against White Pine, a league opponent, Incline used its athleticism to race out to a 33-25 lead at the half. A solid third quarter put the game out of reach.
Porter again led all scorers with 28 points to go along with his 10 rebounds. Snyder finished with eight points and eight boards against some big White Pine posts, while Zissis scored 11. Sophomore Joey Stranzl, starting JV point guard, scored his first varsity points and finished with four.
“It’s nice to beat a league opponent, especially one that is a nine-hour bus trip away,” Kelly said. “Knowing who they are helps for when it really counts — in league.”
Against White Pine, Zissis led the Highlanders with 19 points. Thompson added 14 while senior transfer Jason Guth also scored his first two points of the season.
Incline ended the tournament by taking it to Mammoth.
“We wanted to go into league on a high note and this game was a high note,” Kelly said. “We competed like it was league and we took care of business.”
Snyder was dominant with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Dylan Comstock came off the bench to score 14 points, all in the second half, Zissis was steady again with 13, and Porter and Hanna and Porter scored 11 and 10, respectively.
“Going 7-3 in the preseason is strong,” Kelly said. “We know we can win games and be a force in Division III. Now we have to decide to compete like champions every day. If we do that then we are a tough team to beat.”