Incline girls sweep top basketball awards
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — After a perfect, undefeated, season, it makes sense that the Incline Village girls’ basketball team swept major postseason awards.
The Highlanders’ senior Big 3 of Eiley Tippins, Elisabeth Stranzl and Brooke Gutheil took home the top awards from the state tournament, where this year they won back-to-back 2A championships, and also from the Northern League where they won by an average of 30 points per game.
“It was just such an all-around team effort this year,” said Incline Village Head Coach Indra Winquest. “It was as close to a perfect season as you can get. It’s a testament to their resolve and hard work.”
Tippins effort at the state tournament was recognized with the Most Valuable Player award while Stranzl and Gutheil were named first team All-State.
In the Northern League, Tippins and Stranzl shared MVP honors while Gutheil was named Offensive Player of the Year.
Also for Incline, junior Molly Ellis earned second team All-League and senior Mattison Lampe earned honorable mention.
At the state tournament, Incline’s offense revolved around getting the ball inside to Tippins. She enjoyed a couple of big games with points and rebounds. She also hit two clutch free throws after being triple-teamed that were ultimately the winning points in the state title game.
For the season, the 6-foot-2 center averaged 15.2 points and a whopping 12.5 rebounds per game. She also rounded out the stat sheet with three steals, about three blocks and two assists per game.
“Eiley was the core pillar of our team,” Winquest said. “Her presence on offense and defense were so crucial to our success. We had somebody that could alter shots and totally alter the way other teams had to attack us. She disrupted everything. And on offense, teams had to focus on her with double and triple teams. She battled through it and it created many opportunities for others.”
While Tippins was normally the tallest player on the court, along with the 6-foot-2 Gutheil, Stranzl was one of the shortest players, but maybe the smartest in all of Nevada.
Stranzl was second on the team with 13.1 points per game and also averaged 4.4 assists and 3.7 steals. Her ability to sink shots from beyond the arc opened up the inside and vice versa.
“Pound for pound Lis is the best basketball player I’ve ever coached,” Winquest said. “It didn’t matter if her shots weren’t falling, she did so many other things for us. For her size, the way she sees the floor was outstanding. Everyone looked up to her and her personality and attitude lifted everyone. Her ability to hit 3s opened driving lanes. She was like Eiley, teams had to focus on her. She was the entire package.”
Gutheil added 3-point shooting this season to complete her all-around game. She could play inside, she could play outside, she could hit shots from anywhere and could defend anywhere on the court.
She led the team in blocks with over three per game and also averaged 11.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and three assists.
“You can argue Brooke was the most important piece to our team,” Winquest said. “Her skillset, she was impossible to guard. We could put her down low or at guard. She got offensive player of the year but I think she was one of the best defenders as well. What really changed for her this year for the better was her ability to make 3s. She was another person that disrupts what other teams are trying to do.”
Ellis was another tall body other teams had to deal with. The junior was second on the team in rebounding at six per game and also averaged 5.3 points and 2 steals.
Lampe was the Highlanders best perimeter defender and showed her skills in the state semifinal game where she shut down one of the state’s top players in the second half which was key in Incline opening up a close contest at halftime. She averaged four points and two steals.
“It’s going to be Molly’s team next year,” Winquest said. “She has shown tremendous growth. If they could guard our big three, then what about Molly? She was another big, long body to defend and she was a big piece of our puzzle.
“And Mattison was the most improved player and defensively could guard anyone,” Winquest added. “In the state semifinal, she was able to shut down Olivia Bell who earned co-MVP honors with Eiley.”
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