Incline super sophs no match for Crusaders
RENO – Perspective helped the Incline High boys’ basketball team cope with a 29-point blowout defeat to Faith Lutheran on Friday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center.
With three sophomore in their starting lineup and seven players expected to return next season, the Highlanders could afford to look ahead instead of dwelling on a 67-38 demolition in the Nevada 3A state semifinals.
“We have an extremely high ceiling with three sophomores (starting),” said Incline sophomore Joshua Dykstra. “The program is going to be good for a lot of years.”
Faith Lutheran wasn’t through pasting Northern 3A League opposition, as the Crusaders crushed Dayton 59-40 in Saturday’s finals to collect their fourth consecutive state championship.
The Crusaders detonated Incline’s half-court offense by repeatedly double-teaming the ball.
“They’re not as physical. It was a lot of seniors vs. a lot of sophomores,” said Faith Lutheran coach Bret Walter.
Incline tried to shorten the game by running a perimeter weave in an fruitless effort to hold the ball for long stretches. But the Crusaders didn’t let the game plan last.
“They’d seen if before, and we knew we need to be tight,” Dykstra said. “We have small guards and they got pushed farther and farther from the basket than we wanted to run our offense.”
Leading 14-8 with a minute to go in the first quarter, Faith Lutheran went on a 19-3 run for the remainder of the half, removing some of Incline’s spirit in the process.
Dykstra led the Highlanders with 15 points, including eight of his team’s 11 first-half points. Diontea Wright topped Faith Lutheran with 14.
Incline will drop to the Northern 2A League next season, but coach Dan Schreiber doesn’t think it will be any easier getting back to state.
“To say we’re going to a lesser league is a completely wrong statement,” he said. “The 2A’s strong. ROP and Lovelock are both legit schools, and both beat us this year.”
Reno run down in finals
Seventy-five seconds into the second half of the Nevada 4A girls’ state finals on Friday, Reno was poised to upset two-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman.
Reno led 27-19, stirring up its local following in Lawlor Events Center. But the Gaels (30-4) put on a run to justify their No. 15 national ranking, outscoring the Huskies 21-0 over the next six minutes on their way to a 65-48 victory.
“The seniors won three straight championships, and to go out in that fashion, that’s what they worked so hard for all year,” said Gorman coach Sheryl Krmpotich.
Reno coach Shane Foster attributed the run to 6-foot-4 center Ashley Gayle denying the Huskies a chance to attack the basket in their half-court sets.
“It’s tough. Where to do you find a 6-4 post, (let alone) two of them, and one of them is a McDonald’s All-American?. It’s like having Shaq in his prime sitting in the middle doing what he wants, whenever he wants,” Foster said. “They were just letting Gayle roam wherever she wanted, and the other post just sit and pick anybody that would come to the basket.”
Gayle, who was often double-teamed in the low post, had 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. It was her third straight triple-double performance.
A strong fourth quarter by Raimy Novacek kept Reno competitive until the final horn. Novacek scored 10 of her 13 points in the final period, allowing the Huskies (29-4) to get as close as 58-44 with 1:24 to go.
“It’s a sad place to be, but it’s also a happy place to be. They have worked hard. They have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of,” Foster said. “I told them that they’ll remember this night for the rest of their lives and the regional title for the rest of their lives.”
Gayle, a Texas-bound senior, and Darriel Gaynor carried the Gaels in a first half that saw their team depend too much on perimeter shooting. Gaynor and Gayle combined for 18 of their team’s first 19 points, but they had plenty of support after intermission as four Gaels wound up double figures. Gaynor finished with 15 points, followed by Aaryn Ellenberg’s 13 and Kiara Belen’s 12.
“We were all getting frustrated, and we tend to all try to win the game by ourselves,” Gayle said. “The second half we went back to playing team basketball.”
Truckee girls lose in finals
The Truckee Wolverines, who entered the postseason as a fifth seed, nearly walked away with the school’s first girls’ basketball championship.
Truckee surprised Pahrump Valley 51-43 in double overtime in the semifinals on Friday before losing to Yerington 46-30 in Saturday’s final.
Note: South Lake Tahoe referee Joe Puleri worked the Incline-Faith Lutheran game.
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