Whittell girls b-ball drops home opener against Incline

Anthony Gentile
Whittell guard Ali Copsy drives to the basket against Incline forward Kira Porter in the Warriors’ 75-21 loss to the Highlanders on Tuesday night at the Whittell Invitational.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

ZEPHYR COVE — The Whittell girls basketball faced a tough test in its home debut Tuesday night — and didn’t get the result it was looking for. The Warriors lost to defending Div. III state champion Incline 75-21 at the Whittell Invitational Tournament, done in by the Highlanders’ constant defensive pressure.

“We couldn’t handle their pressure tonight — normally we break presses pretty easily,” Warriors coach Tom Esposito said.

The game got off to a back-and-forth start, and a three-pointer from Whittell guard Ali Copsy made it a two-point contest with 1:59 left in the first quarter. Incline (3-2) answered with six straight points, and had a 17-9 lead after the opening frame.

Whittell (2-3) kept pace with the Highlanders at the beginning of the second quarter, and trailed by seven after guard Daria Sharon hit a three with 3:59 left. Then Incline got rolling.

The Highlanders went on a 10-2 run to end the first half, and had a 15-point lead at halftime. A majority of the visitors’ points in the second quarter came on fast break opportunities off turnovers — a trend that would continue into the second half.

“We thought we could hang with them — we hung with them for a little bit, but not much,” Esposito said.

Incline outscored the Warriors by 41 points over the last two quarters en route to a decisive victory. Whittell had trouble handing the Highlanders’ pressure — as soon as a Warriors’ player would cross half court, a pair of defenders would rush forward for a double team.

Guard Samantha Forvilly led Whittell with five points in the loss and guard Kelsey Kjer added four. For Incline, guard Molly Franklin scored a game-high 41 points and forward Kira Porter added 10.

Whittell returned to action Thursday night, when it resumed play at the Whittell Invitational against Bishop (Calif.). The Warriors host Fall River (McArthur, Calif.) Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and wrap up tournament action Saturday against Silver Stage (Silver Springs, Nev.) at 6 p.m.

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