Incline holds off furious rally, takes down West Wendover
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline has put itself in position to win a league basketball title for the first time in seven seasons.
The Highlander boys’ built a solid lead Saturday afternoon against West Wendover but had to fight back a late furious rally late for a 65-62 victory on their home court.
The win came less than 24 hours after Incline smashed White Pine 70-23 the night before, also on the North Shore.
“The whole weekend was phenomenal,” said Highlanders head coach Tim Kelly. “The guys really stepped up, they were prepared and ready to compete. Saturday’s game just celebrated how good we can be. We played together, I was really proud.”
West Wendover led 13-12 after the first period but Incline jumped in front 32-31 at halftime. Kelly was most proud of his team with its defense in the third quarter, where the Highlanders surrendered just eight points.
“That was the highlight of the game for me,” Kelly said.
Incline added on to its lead and was up by 14 with around four minutes left, said Kelly.
But West Wendover (17-4, 11-1 2A Northern League) came roaring back and connected on some challenging 3-pointers late and got to within two points after trimming a 10-deficit in the last 90 seconds.
Freshman TT Valosek tied his career high with 29 points, including five 3-pointers, and senior co-captain Ian Smith added 20 points to lead Incline to its fifth straight victory after losing Jan. 5 to West Wendover 56-50 in their first meeting.
Johnny Redfern hit all three of his field goals, including a 3, and finished with 11 points, Liam Nolan-Bowers added three points and 10 rebounds and Brad Rye added a bucket for Incline (16-6, 10-1 Northern).
“TT and Ian were amazing and Liam again was a monster on the boards,” Kelly said. “If we would have rebounded defensively in the final minutes, we would have won going away. We gave up a ton of second-chance points.”
At halftime, graduates Bobby Anderson (class of 1982) and Mike McNulty (class of 1983) were inducted into the Incline Hall of Fame and later were the special guests during a fundraiser dinner for the school’s hoops programs.
“It was easily the funniest dinner we’ve ever had,” Kelly said. “The speakers were great. Both men were really humbled by the experience.”
The Wolverines still hold a half-game lead over Incline. The Highlanders had a game against Yerington earlier this season postponed until the last game of the regular season.
Both teams have pretty much cruised through their other league opponents with by far their toughest games against each other. Should they continue their paces, they would share the league title.
Against White Pine (7-13, 4-8 Northern), Valosek scored 21 points to lead the way while fellow freshman Brody Thralls netted 16 points, including draining all four 3-pointers he attempted.
Redfern filled out the stat sheet with 13 points, six steals, five rebounds and four assists, Nolan-Bowers added 13 rebounds and four points and Parker Fontecchio scored seven points.
The Highlanders will play Silver Stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Battle Mountain at the same time Thursday. Both games are at home.