Undefeated Incline girls dominate northstate, eye state crown
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — If defense wins championships the undefeated Incline Highlanders girls’ basketball team this weekend will be hoisting the state championship trophy.
But Incline head coach Indra Winquest warns that his team is about to see maybe the best team they’ve faced all year in the state semifinals.
“We’re very confident, but we’re going to see two teams, if we get past the first team, that are better than the teams we’ve played this year in the northstate,” Winquest said.
The Highlanders stormed through the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 2A Northern Basketball Championships in Winnemucca this past weekend, winning both the semifinal and final in dominating fashion.
Incline crushed Pershing County 59-24 on Friday and claimed the crown with a 45-17 victory Saturday over Battle Mountain at the Winnemucca Events Complex.
The Highlanders beat Pershing for the third time this season and the 24 points were the most allowed in any of the games. Incline also beat Battle Mountain for the third time after having beat the Longhorns earlier in the season 58-23 and 50-20.
During its dominant season, Incline has given up an average of 20 points per game while scoring 53.
In the semifinals against Pershing, Incline’s senior trio of Elisabeth Stranzl, Brooke Gutheil and Eiley Tippins combined for 44 points, with Tippins leading the way with 19. Gutheil had 15 and Stranzl added 10.
Tippins and Gutheil also recorded double-doubles with 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively. It was Gutheil’s first of the season and Tippins’ 11th, including five straight games. Gutheil added three steals and four blocks.
Stranzl recorded a team-high four assists and three steals.
Mattison Lampe added nine points and Molly Ellis netted six.
In the title game, Battle Mountain hung around early with Incline trailing just 9-8 after the first period. But the suffocating Highlander defense shut out the Longhorns in the second period and allowed just nine points in the second half.
“Battle Mountain is good, they just couldn’t make shots against us,” Winquest said.
Stranzl led the way for the offense with 15 points, including 3 of 5 from the 3-point line, and added five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Gutheil scored 13 points, including a pair of 3s, and added five steals, four blocks and four assists.
Tippins, who averages more than 15 points per game, scored just six, but she pulled down a whopping 25 rebounds, 16 offensive, and that’s not even her season high. She recorded 36 earlier in the year against Pyramid Lake while also scoring 22 points.
Lampe added five points, Lizabeth Callejas had four and Molly Ellis had two points.
Incline (22-0) will take on Calvary Chapel Christian (18-3), the south’s No. 2 seed, at 12:20 p.m. Friday at Lawlor Events Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. Should the Highlanders advance, they will play the winner between Battle Mountain and the south’s top seed Lincoln County (22-3) at 11 a.m.
“We’re confident going in, but we know Calvary Chapel is good and has one of the best players in the state,” Winquest said. “Defense is our biggest strength. We’re always focused, disciplined and give great help with a lot of size. We make teams work hard and try to contest every shot.”
The Highlanders, who are the defending state champs, won the title on the same hardwood two years ago and Winquest believes if the Highlanders reach the final on Saturday, they will receive strong support from the Incline community.
“Not having to travel eight hours on a bus to Las Vegas is a huge advantage,” Winquest said. “All the girls who won the title two years ago are still on the team, so they have that experience in winning on that court.”
Incline has won 39 straight games dating back to 2020 which is the 13th longest winning streak in the nation, according to maxpreps.com
All state tournament games can be streamed live on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com.
For those attending the tournament, tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for students (high school age and younger) and free for those 8 and under and are good for all games at a site on the given day. Tickets are available through HomeTown Ticketing or by visiting niaa.com/tickets.
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