Lady Highlanders pull away from Longhorns, will play Saturday for north’s No. 1 seed
SPARKS, Nev. — Incline Lady Highlanders head coach Indra Winquest said before Friday’s semifinal clash with Battle Mountain that he expected a war.
He got one for three quarters before the Longhorns finally waved the white flag in the fourth quarter as the Highlanders pulled away, much to the delight of the hundreds of fans in the stands.
No. 2 Incline defeated No. 3 Battle Mountain 56-41 Friday at Sparks High School and will play at 11 a.m. Saturday in the same gym for the tournament championship and No. 1 seed for the state tournament that begins next week in Las Vegas.
Incline senior superstar Taylor Redfern scored 25 points, including six 3-pointers, and played tough defense guarding the Longhorns best player.
“We knew it was gonna be a war,” Winquest said. “We worked hard for two weeks and put in a game plan. Taylor shut down Sruti (Bhakta) and I think that was the key, we didn’t let her get going. I thought Grace (Melver) killed us early in the game, we were a little late on defense in the first quarter. We knew it was gonna be back and forth but I didn’t expect to be able to pull away late.”
Redfern took over in the fourth quarter. She blocked shots, made steals, grabbed rebounds and scored 14 points in the final eight minutes.
“After four years, sometimes with Tay, you don’t know what to expect, you know she’s always gonna be good,” Winquest said.
Incline led 15-10 after the first period and 25-20 at halftime. The Longhorns shaved a point off that lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Highlanders finished on a 22-11 run.
Incline freshman Brooke Gutheil looked like anything but a freshman. She scored a career-high 17 points by slashing to the rim and grabbing tough offensive rebounds in traffic.
“Brooke had the best game she’s had all season and Taylor hit some massive 3s towards the end, especially in the fourth quarter,” Winquest said.
Also for the Highlanders (20-4), Madison Corneil scored six points, Elisabeth Stranzl added four points and Kensal Coudriet and Serena Faulkner each added two points.
The Highlanders will go for the tournament title and No. 1 seed from the north at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sparks High School.
They will play the winner between No. 1 seed White Pine and No. 4 seed Yerington.