Highlanders sweep Warriors | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Highlanders sweep Warriors

Incline High guard Jason Lanz won his individual battle with Whittell swingman Avery Norman, and that helped his team win the war, 58-46.

Lanz had 32 of Incline’s 58 points as the Highlanders took their second boys basketball victory of the year over the Warriors, who visited Incline Village for Tuesday’s league opener.

Incline improved to 6-10 overall (1-0 in division play), and is 2-0 over Whittell on the season after beating the Warriors at the Battle of the Lake tournament in Zephyr Cove. Avery Norman went back and forth with Lanz throughout the game, but his 28 points, five rebounds, three steals and a block couldn’t lift Whittell.

“Ever since middle school, I’ve been playing with him,” said Lanz, who had his second 30-plus-point game in a row on Tuesday. “It’s been him and I, kind of like the battle for the two teams.

“I was just playing the same I always played for four years of my life,” he said. “I just go out, never change my game plan.”

It wasn’t just Lanz’s points and boards that did Whittell in, nor help from teammates Brando Strohmaier – 12 points, three rebounds – and Bryce Burdick – eight points, six boards – that doomed Whittell. Warriors head coach Steve Maltase blamed a lack of execution.

“I think, offensively, we just didn’t shoot well, take care of the ball really well, just didn’t execute very well,” said Maltase, whose team dropped to 4-7 on the year. “Defensively, we just weren’t aggressive enough in the first half, and it just got us in the hole.”

Whittell kept the game close through three quarters, despite weathering a four-minute drought to start the game, and a rough night offensively for forward Todd Echan, who finished with 11 rebounds, but just two points on 2 of 4 free-throw shooting. Incline led 28-21 at the half, and 43-35 after three, but Whittell fell into a three-minute scoring slump to start the fourth quarter. Whittell couldn’t cut the lead below 10, and Incline pulled away for the win.

“We didn’t do the things we came in the game to do,” Maltase said.

Whittell returns to action on Saturday with a trip to Dayton for the team’s second league game.

Incline girls 74, Whittell 26

Whittell High suffered a chemical implosion on Incline’s home hardwood, losing the division opener for both teams 74-26 to the host Highlanders.

“There was no chemistry on the floor,” Whittell head coach Lindsay Wines said of her team’s chemistry, which she counted as its greatest strength going into the season. “We were just not playing as a group.”

“It’s tough, and with every loss we get, it’s going to be even tougher to step out on the floor and say, ‘Let’s go play,'” she said.

Incline abandoned its relentless press in the third quarter Tuesday, but Whittell’s girls couldn’t recover, and fell to 0-10 on the season. Incline switched from its man press to a 2-3 zone that gave Whittell even more trouble, holding the Warriors without a field goal in the third quarter. Whittell rallied for 11 points in the fourth, but the game already was out of reach, and the Warriors started their division schedule 0-1.

The Highlanders (4-6) have gained ground on Whittell since the Warriors played them closer in late December at the Battle of the Lake tournament at North Tahoe.

“Right now, I think Incline has improved tremendously since the last time we played them,” Wines said. “They just are playing some really good basketball right now.”

Erin La Vigne led the Highlanders with a season-high 20 points, and Keri Oberly added 14 more. Caitlin Fagan had 10 pints to lead Whittell, Ashley Berns had seven more, and Wines lauded Meredith Shaw – who scored her first points of the season in limited duty – and Nichole Wasson for their efforts. Still, Whittell seemed unable to rebound from a 22-9 Incline run in the second quarter.

“They were hurt because they didn’t have their center (Danielle Cronis),” said Incline head coach Julie Thew. “The first time we played, we had a much closer game.”

Whittell hits the road Saturday at Dayton, searching for its first league – and overall – win.

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