The Ely Times
Sophomore standout Eva Kingston scored eight of her 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead the White Pine High girls basketball team to a 34-25 win over Incline in the 2A girls championship game at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Mar. 2.
It was the second straight title for the Ladycats and second for coach Justin Locke, also the fourth title in the past five years for the Bobcats. They won back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the girls lost in the state semifinals.
Kingston had nine points in the first quarter to help the Bobcats take the lead early, and Incline was scoreless in the second quarter as White Pine maintained control.
Elisabeth Stranzl had 11 points to lead the Highlanders.
Good defense in the second quarter led to a 13-point lead for White Pine, but still very low scoring, only 18-5.
But the kids from the northern shores of Lake Tahoe, nearly turned the tables on the Bobcats in the third quarter outscoring them 10-4, but still trailed 22-15 at that point.
Locke said in the halftime locker room he told the team, “even though they had held Incline scoreless in the second quarter, they are not going to give in. And I think they came out in that third period and put a lot of pressure on Eva and our girls look to her to get stuff started and when that doesn’t happen nobody wants to take control. We have struggled with that most of the year.”
Incline did pull close near the end of the third quarter until White Pine was able to score five points in the last minute and a half.
Then in the fourth quarter, Kingston got loose again, scoring eight points in the final four minutes of the game to maintain the lead after Incline had pulled with 25-21 but got no closer.
Both teams were not good at the foul line, White Pine only 8 for 17 and Incline just 5 for 15.
The two league rivals split their games during the regular season. White Pine won the regional championship in Reno Feb. 23 with 42-36 victory over Incline. A meeting in the state finals was somewhat expected.
The Ladycats finished the season at 27-2, the same record they had last year also. However, last year they scored 245 more points than this year.
Locke said he wanted to “enjoy the moment of this second straight title a little more this year. It kind of went by in a flash last year. I don’t think I really relished in what we did.”
The relish the team enjoyed might not have been there at all due to a semifinal game that was an outright heart stopper.
Meeting up in the semifinals Friday in Las Vegas with Lincoln County was a rematch of the 2018 championship game.
White Pine held off a late charge by the Lynx for a 29-28 semifinal victory.
Locke said the Lynx had “a good game plan against us using a box-and-one. We haven’t seen that much and took us while to figure it out.”
White Pine led 29-24 with 1:24 to play, but Gwen Lamb’s steal and layup with 18 seconds left pulled Lincoln County within a point.
After White Pine’s Mia Kemmler missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Lamb’s desperation heave at the buzzer fell short.
Madison Ricks led the Bobcats with seven points and six rebounds, and teammates Eva Kingston and Olivia Hendrix each chipped in with six points.
White Pine’s size hampered the Lynx (15-11) throughout the game, limiting their second-chance opportunities, while forcing 18 turnovers.
Sadie Soderberg and Kendra Mathews each scored nine points to lead the Lincoln County.