WHS-Incline rivalry receives another chapter
Football, soccer, hoops, it doesn’t matter.
Whenever rivals Incline and Whittell High get together, school pride is on the line and the competition is fierce.
Saturday night’s Nevada 2A boys basketball contest was proof of this as both teams battled hard for the entire 32 minutes, with the Highlanders eventually coming out on top 66-59 in Zephyr Cove.
The game started out with a rigorous up-and-down tempo, that saw both teams shooting well behind their point guards.
Highlander Chris Park showed off his long-range jumper early, burying a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes, while Whittell’s Nestor Flores proved he was up to the task as well, landing six of his team’s 1 first quarter points.
But the game really started to take form in the trenches, where on paper, Incline had a serious size advantage.
But in a rivalry of this magnitude, paper is just paper and Warrior center Ryan Salomon dispelled any beliefs that the Highlanders were going to control the paint in his house.
Salomon was a monster on the glass, outpositioning and outhustling Highlander big man Kevin Dyess the entire game.
Using impressive footwork on the offensive side of the ball, Salomon scored seven of his 10 points in the first half, notched two blocks and easily led both teams in rebounding.
“Ryan did a great job,” Warrior coach Don Amaral said. “When they would go man to man, I was very comfortable he could do something with it down there.”
While the Warriors were playing stellar ball behind the inside-outside game of Flores and Salomon, the Highlanders still held an advantage after each of the first three quarters and the score was 52-49 heading into the final frame.
After trading baskets early in the fourth, Highlander guard Jeff White picked off a Warrior pass and took it the length of the court for a layup, stretching their lead to 62-54 with 4 minutes, 30 seconds to play.
But Warrior guard Jake Summers responded with a big three-ball at the 3-minute mark and the Warriors began to press.
Down 63-57 with under 2:00 to play, Flores’ quick hands on defense led to a steal and breakaway layup and the Warriors appeared to be making a magical late-game comeback.
And with 43 ticks left, trailing by only four, things looked even better as Flores came up with another big steal.
But taking the pass from Flores on a tough angle, Summers couldn’t convert on a running layup and the Warriors were forced to send the Highlanders to the line for the remainder of the contest.
“In my opinion we out played them,” Warrior coach Don Amaral said. “We outhustled them on defense and the three-four-five guys did a great job screening them off the boards.
“We did everything except for one thing, shoot free throws.”
In a tightly played game that saw neither team lead by more than single digits, free throws probably were the difference for Whittell. The Warriors went 8 for 17 from the foul line in the first half and 11 for 21 overall, shooting just 52 percent.
And while the Highlanders weren’t much better, shooting 62 percent on the night, they buried them when it counted, going 5 for 8 in the final frame.
In the loss, Summers finished with a game-high 18 points, while Flores chipped in with 15. Incline forward Matt Baker led the Highlanders with 13 points.
“I told them, they play this way next week and we win,” Amaral said. “This is one of the two best teams in this league and we played them very tough the whole ballgame.”
Up next for the Warriors is Tuesday’s contest, on the road at Virginia City.
Incline High’s Kristi Cole scored 12 of her game-high 14 points in a decisive third-quarter run Saturday, propelling the Highlanders to a 57-23 win over the Whittell Warriors in a Nevada 2A girls basketball contest in Zephyr Cove.
After jumping out to an early 14-2 lead, the Highlanders struggled a bit in the second quarter as the Warriors clawed their way back into the game behind solid shooting from freshman Whitney Gielow, a 3-pointer from Jenna Hayes and a buzzer-beater from Kelly Flanigan.
But coming out of the halftime locker room down 26-17, the Warriors didn’t have an answer for Cole, who popped for five points in the opening minute of the third period, converting on a 3-pointer and off a steal for an uncontested layup.
“We went to sleep a little bit in the second quarter,” Highlander coach Amanda Levin said. “But they took care of it in the third.”
The Warriors were outscored 22-4 in the third quarter and 9-2 in the fourth as the Highlanders used a full court pressure to disrupt the Warriors all game.
“I don’t know what happened when we walked in the locker room at halftime,” Warrior coach Lindsay Wines said. “We just lost all of our focus.”
Gielow and Ashley Wines led the Warriors with six points each, while sophomore Elise Thomas chipped in with four.
In JV action, both Warrior girls and boys teams came away with decisive victories. The girls won their contest 39-20 behind Katlin Green’s 19 points, while the boys marched to a 67-39 win. Chris Shapiro led the way for the Warriors with 17 points.