White Pine High’s girls basketball team saw action on the basketball court in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the boys team did not.
Coach Justin Locke had the girls team involved in the Varsity Elite tournament at McQueen High School in Reno Dec. 27-29.
Locke had said the tournament would give the team some competition with a few 4A size schools, “that will help get us ready for our showdown with second place Incline (10-1) in Ely Jan. 4. It’ll be a nice tune-up for us.”
The first game for the Ladycats was with North Valleys and resulted in a 43-28 win for White Pine.
“That was probably our best game of the tournament,” Locke said, “our shots were just going in.” The girls built a 23-15 halftime lead. Mia Kemmler did not attend the tournament, but Eva Kingston led the team with 21 points. “Always nice to beat an upper division school.”
He said it was the Ladycats 14 points in the fourth quarter that turned the tide for a victory.
The second game was with Loyalton of California, a small town north of Truckee. That was a 41-24 loss. “They’re a school a bit smaller than White Pine,” Locke said, “but had a really good team. And, we just didn’t play well in the early game of the day. We just don’t like to play early in the morning. We did not shoot well, didn’t do well defensively until the second half, but Loyalton played solid as well, more of an aggressive zone defense that we have seen and we just never really got in sink. We had a lot of second chance opportunities, but our shooting percentage on these shots was real low.”
Loyalton went 2-2 at the tourney.
White Pine’s third game at McQueen was with South Tahoe and was a low scoring affair White Pine won 31-22. And it certainly was low scoring, only 9-8 at halftime in favor of White Pine.” They faced us with a zone press that did make us hurry, and again we were just struggling to make shots in the first half and get some offense going,” said Locke, “but we did enough to pull it out.”
Individual scores were not posted for this game.
White Pine’s final game at the tourney was with Galena, a 4A school from Reno. And this was the lowest, and closest score game they played.
“We could have lost that one,” Locke said. “I had watched one or two of Galena’s earlier games and they had played zone each time, so I prepared our team to face that. But Galena surprised us and hit us with a man-to-man defense. We just couldn’t get our man offense untracked and only scored four points in the first half.”
But Locke made the necessary adjustments in the locker room and they shut down Galena 11-0 in the third quarter to lead 15-9 at that point.
“We had an eight point lead with 1:34 left in the game,” Locke said, “and here’s where we made some mistakes, made four turnovers, got ourselves in a hurry and had to survive a last second shot that was ruled too late.”
Galena trailed 21-19 with three seconds left, missed the shot, got the rebound and put it back in to tie the game, but the referee ruled the horn had gone off before the ball left the shooters hand. Locke said replay confirmed the call was correct.
White Pine’s Eva Kingston was selected to the All-Tournament team.
This weekend, Incline and North Tahoe are in Ely for important league game. Locke said Incline has a good team this season, tied for first place in the league as the Bobcats at 4-0, and 10-1 overall.
However, White Pine does have a strong advantage in the series between the teams since 2011 at 11-3, and they have won the last five meetings, but the games have been close except for White Pine’s 51-30 win in mid-January last year.
As the New Year begins, the Ladycats, the defending state champions, and Incline are the top teams in the 2A ranks statewide with Needles and Calvary Chapel right behind.
For the White Pine boys, they had the holiday break off and return to league action Jan. 4-5 hosting Incline and North Tahoe.
And with the wrestling team, they also get back into action at Milford, Utah Jan. 5.