Highlander girls go for sweet revenge tonight vs. White Pine | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Highlander girls go for sweet revenge tonight vs. White Pine

Incline freshman Elisabeth Stranzl weaves her way through traffic earlier this year while bringing the ball upcourt.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — There are games on the schedule that every team points to and looks forward to playing that particular opponent.

For the Highlander girls, playing White Pine on Friday night in Incline Village is one of those games.

“This is the kind of game the girls should want to play in,” said Incline head coach Indra Winquest. “They should have fun and embrace the moment. It’s going to be a war. I hope there’s a ton of people there, it should be lots of fun to watch.”

The Bobcats have handed the Highlanders some painful losses over the last five years. They have knocked Incline out of the playoffs the last three seasons, including a one-point victory in the 2015-16 state championship game.

White Pine has handed out its fair share of defeats to everybody in class 2A on the way to winning Nevada state titles in three of the last four years.

“They’ve given us some tough losses over the years,” said head coach Indra Winquest. “We beat them out at their place a couple of years ago and we know we can beat them. We think we’re the better team. We played well against them defensively earlier this season, but we just couldn’t hit any shots. With the way we play defense, we’ll be in games, but we have to make shots to beat White Pine.”

The Highlanders suffered a 39-22 loss to the Bobcats three weeks ago in Ely, Nevada and they made just 8 of 42 shots (19 percent) and were 1 of 14 from beyond the 3-point line.

Overall, the Bobcats have beaten the Highlanders five straight times and seven out of the last eight. Most of the games have been close and decided by a single digit.

Incline won its fourth straight game Friday, Jan. 18, after losing to White Pine, but the 56-12 victory vs. Coral Academy was costly.

The Highlanders lost junior Kate Tong to a season-ending injury. Winquest called Tong the team’s best perimeter defender and was the first player off the bench.

“She always got the toughest assignments on defense,” Winquest said. “We’ve had to regroup and rally, but we’re not that deep.”

Incline was really good at both ends of the floor on the demolition of Coral Academy.

Taylor Redfern scored 17 points, including 5 of 12 from beyond the arc, freshman Brooke Gutheil added 14 points, six rebounds and four steals, freshman Elisabeth Stranzl chipped in 13, including a pair of 3s, and Madison Corneil netted eight points and dished four assists.

Winquest would love that same production against the Bobcats.

He said the keys to the game were keeping guard Eva Kingston away from the rim, clamping down on their other star Madison Rick, stay out of foul trouble and stay disciplined on defense.

“We’re coming in knowing we can beat this team,” Winquest said. “We know when we we’re playing well, nobody in the state can beat us. If we’re solid offensively, I don’t see us losing. We’ve got a good game plan and I’m sure they will too.”

Winquest said he has a good relationship with the White Pine coaches and has nothing but respect for their program.

He sent a text message to the White Pine coach earlier in the week saying he’s looking forward to Friday’s game and it’s, “Game on.”

He said their coach responded in kind.

“I’ve got nothing but respect for their coaching staff and when we play each other, you can feel the intensity,” Winquest said. “All these are giant games for us down the stretch.”

Tip-off is at 6 p.m.