Highlander hoopsters win thriller over Northern League opponent Yerington at holiday tourney
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline’s two Northern League basketball games against Yerington this year might be must-watch games.
The Highlanders closed out the Sparks Tournament Saturday, Dec. 28, with a thrilling 69-68 victory over the Lions.
Playing against a league foe out of league play, Highlanders head coach Tim Kelly didn’t want to show all his cards in a tournament game, so everybody on the roster received floor time, until the final quarter.
“We were down 13 in the fourth quarter, it was a fun final 10 minutes,” Kelly said. “We played pretty much our main group in the fourth. But Yerington hit some shots.”
The Lions took a two-point lead, 68-66, with 20 seconds to play.
Sophomore star TT Valosek dribbled upcourt and found budding star Finn Gottlieb with under 10 seconds left. Gottlieb, with ice running through his veins, didn’t hesitate.
“TT calmly brought the ball up and saw Finn open on the right wing,” Kelly said. “Finn caught the ball with 8 seconds left and just went straight up and drilled a 3-pointer right in front of our bench. What a play.”
Kelly said Gottlieb scored had 17 or 18 points in the fourth quarter out of his game-high 23. Gottlieb hit 9 of 14 shots, grabbed five rebounds and also blocked three shots.
Also for Incline (8-3, 2-0 League), Valosek scored 16 points, hauled in six rebounds and dished eight assists, Emerson Fleming scored eight points and grabbed a co-team-high seven boards with Marco Barraza, Brad Rye netted eight points, grabbed five boards and made six steals and freshman Gannon Gottlieb added six points and four steals.
Incline beat Yerington last year in their two meetings by 28 and 29 points, respectively.
The Highlanders began the tournament last Thursday by crunching Dayton 54-38 but fell to Toledo, of Oregon, 72-61, the next day.
Against Dayton, Valosek led the way with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five steals, Tyler Knight and Gottlieb added 13 points, Gottlieb had five boards and Knight dished four assists and made three steals. Brody Thralls added six points.
In the loss to Toledo, Kelly felt like he got in his team’s way of success.
“I made some dumb coaching mistakes,” Kelly said. “I got in the way of a team that was playing great against a good team. Brody played completely sick and goes for 18.”
Thralls led the way in scoring and hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Also for Incline, Valosek had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Finn Gottlieb netted 11, Tyler Knight scored eight points, grabbed six boards and dished four assists and Brad Rye added six points and four steals.
Incline ended 2019 with a 77-34 loss Dec. 31 to upper division Reno, probably the best team the Highlanders will see all year.
“All these games, the tournament and Reno, we’re just trying to get ready for Friday,” Kelly said. “I’m intrigued to see how good White Pine and West Wendover are. We’ll see this weekend.”
The Highlanders hit the road to play White Pine (2-0 Northern) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and West Wendover (2-0 Northern) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.