Ely Times Staff Writer
The White Pine High girls basketball team split their home opening weekend games, defeating North Tahoe in a dominating 48-13 win Friday night while dropping a tough game to Incline in a 45-37 defeat Saturday afternoon.
Ladycats coach Krystal Smith said the weekend provided a good measuring stick for how the team would perform against different caliber teams.
“We knew we would be playing both ends of the spectrum this weekend,” Smith said.
While the game against North Tahoe quickly turned into a blowout in the first half, Saturday night’s game against conference-leading Incline looked like it could have gone either way until late in the fourth quarter.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Smith said.
The Ladycats started strong, forcing early turnovers, but had trouble converting them into points.
“We missed a few easy baskets, I think four in the first quarter. So an extra eight points in the first quarter would have been huge for us,” Smith said.
Even with the missed shots, White Pine led the Highlanders 9-6 at the end of the first quarter. Incline ended the first half on a run to bring them up 15-17 at halftime.
The Ladycats came out in the second half with renewed energy. Two made free throws by Emily Bischoff midway through the fourth quarter tied the game at 29-29 but the Ladycats failed to capitalize on possessions in the last three minutes of the game, letting the Highlanders gain a lead when it mattered most.
“Obviously it is hard to be content with a loss where, at times, we beat ourselves more than they beat us. At the same time, we are pretty young, we have some strong leaders on our team and we are ready to bounce back come next week,” Smith said.
One thing Smith said she was impressed with in both games was the Ladycat’s play on defense. Despite the close loss to Incline, the Ladycats did hold the Highlander’s hot shooting squad seven points below their season average of 52.1 points per game.
The defensive play was even more impressive against North Tahoe, holding the struggling Lakers to half their average output at a season low 13 points.
“We really focus on playing a strong man defense and forcing ball pressure. I was really impressed by the girls ability to not only play strong defense, but also to box out,” Smith said.
The Ladycats will go back on the road to face another tough opponent at Pershing on Friday.