Fernley girls fall to Truckee
Appeal News Service
RENO – Lady Vaqueros basketball coach Ralph Dunn said before the game his team needed to shoot solid from the free throw line if it wanted to advance to the semifinals of the Northern 3A playoffs.
Dunn turned out to be right.
Fernley, the tournament’s fifth seed, missed 15 free throws, nine in the fourth quarter, in losing to fourth-seeded Truckee, 41-36, Thursday night at Damonte Ranch High School.
“That’s too many points to leave out,” said Dunn, whose team missed 20 from the line against Truckee three weeks ago.
“We shot a lot of free throws in practice.”
The Wolverines face top-seeded Spring Creek (16-0 in league) tonight at 6:20 p.m. with the winner to face either Lowry or Yerington, a 43-31 winner over Dayton. The championship game is on Saturday with both teams advancing to next week’s state tournament.
“It got a little ugly. All the emotions of the game were getting to us at the end,” Truckee coach Angelo Tenorio said. “We were able to overcome things today. They worked hard and never quit.”
Both teams combined to shoot 12 of 39 from the free throw line with Fernley having the worst percentage of the game at 25 percent (5-20).
Truckee, though, shot better at 37 percent (7-19).
“Thank goodness that happened for us,” Tenorio said about Fernley’s missed free throws. “They’re normally a good free throw shooting team.”
Kelly Stephens led the Wolverines with a game-high 16 points, including two 3-pointers, and Breanne Busby added 10. Lindsay Holt scored five points, and Nicole Panziera had four.
After the two regular season contests, Tenorio said he did not want to take any chances with Fernley’s leading scorer, April Shaw. The Wolverines double-teamed Shaw most of the night, but the senior still led the team with 16 points.
“We didn’t want April to beat us,” Tenorio said.
“She creates a lot of their offense.”
Dunn said Truckee’s plan frustrated Shaw but was still surprised to see her generate offensively. .
“April got a little frustrated,” he said. “They were being pretty physical. She ended up with 16, which is still pretty good.”
Jamye King scored eight points, including a 3-pointer, and Annie Lowry added six.
Fernley led at halftime, 17-15, before falling behind in the third quarter, 30-25.
Heather Matthews and King brought the Vaqueros within two points in the fourth quarter, and Shaw stole an inbounded pass and fed it to King to tie the game at 32 with six minutes left.
Stephens gave the Wolverines the lead for good in unique fashion.
With two Wolverines and one Vaquero down on the floor, Stephens picked up the loose ball and drilled a 3-pointer, instead of driving down the lane for the easy bucket.
“She was trying to get some points on the board,” Tenorio said. “She stepped up today. She worked really hard and concentrated on getting those open shots.”
Facing a team that hasn’t lost a league game the last two seasons, Tenorio said he plans on using a similar strategy to contain Spring Creek’s top scorer and University of Nevada recruit, Johnna Ward.
“We’re going to approach that game similar and take the ball out of Johnna’s hands,” he said. “We’re going to force the other girls to beat us.”