Dave Maxwell photo
Incline’s Elizabeth Strand and White Pine’s Rachel Jones jostle for rebound position.  White Pine won the regional championship 42-36 and both teams will play in the state tournament this weekend in Las Vegas.

John Byrne photo

The Ely Times

The White Pine High girls basketball team won the 2A Northern regional tournament with a couple of exciting wins at the tournament last week in Reno.

Two thrilling come-from-behind wins, 43-38 over Yerington and 42-36 over Incline, propelled White Pine, the defending 2A state champions,  into this week’s state tournament in Las Vegas as the No. 1 seed from the North.

The championship game with Incline was the most amazing, said Lady Bobcats’ coach Justin Locke. “It was definitely a tale of two different teams and two different halves. In the first half, we were just not making the necessary adjustments on their hot shooting. We just had to hold on best we could to get to the halftime locker room and talk it over.”

The Bobcats and the Highlanders split their games in league play, so the Highlanders were ready having won the previous meeting about a month early at Incline. And the Highlanders came out like a firecracker. Freshman guard Elizabeth Strand made four three point shots in the first quarter.

Incline kept it up in the second quarter with 16 points and had the Bobcats by the tail 30-16 at halftime.

 “But we came out with a lot more energy in the second half,” Locke said, “and I made a switch to have Rachel Jones guard Strand and keep her from shooting so well from the outside. Rachel has really come along on the defensive end this year, and did a really good job on Strand.”

As the tale of two different halves was playing out, the Bobcats turned in a 26-6 run on the Highlanders to win the regional championship.  

“When you go on a little bit of a run like we did, the momentum just switched to our side,” Locke said.

Eva Kingston was game high for White Pine with 16 points, Madison Rick had eight points.

In the semifinal game with Yerington the day before, it was Rick who was the prominent player.

Holding a slim 28-26 lead over the Lions as the fourth quarter began Locke said he needed to have Rick show her strength at the post, which she did along with Kingston and Jill Van tassell.

Rick finished with 17 points, Van tassell and Kingston both scored eight points.

At state this week, the Ladycats (25-2) will face Lincoln County (12-13) in the semifinals at Eldorado High School in Henderson. It will be a rematch of the state championship game from last year which White Pine won in overtime.

The teams played each other this past December in Ely with White Pine winning, 38-26.

The other state semifinal game at Eldorado High matches Calvary Chapel (21-6) and Incline (20-5). The finals are Saturday Mar. 2 at The Orleans Arena.

 \The Bobcat boys this year did not make it to the regional tournament, losing a play-in game to Battle Mountain 65-52 on Feb. 20 for the No. 6 spot. They finished the season 9-17.