They’re the two-time defending state champions, and have not lost a league game this season, but the Reno girls never let up.
Maybe that’s why they win.
Coach Shane Foster put the Huskies through a rigorous practice Monday, after which the players were drenched. Leading scorer Mallory McGwire wasn’t done though. The 6-foot-4 junior calmly went about shooting free throws and short jumpers for at least 15 minutes afterward.
Reno went 16-0 in league play and is the top seed from the Division I High Desert as the girls tournament begins Wednesday. The Huskies host Carson.
Bishop Manogue is the top seed on the Sierra side and went 15-1. The Miners only league loss was 64-61 to Reno on Jan. 9, a game that could have gone either way. The Miners last loss, on Jan. 19, was to Bishop O’Dowd in a California tournament.
Last season, in a state semifinal game, Reno sophomore Daranda Hinkey hit six straight free throws — all in 1-and-1 situations — over the last 3 minutes, 30 seconds against Centennial, a game Reno won 55-52.
So she knows pressure.
Hinkey said the playoffs are intense.
“It’s super exciting, but my team has to stay composed,” Hinkey said. “We practice how we play.”
Reno beat Carson in the first game of the season on Dec. 2, 68-34.
“We have to come out really hard. We want to get to the next level. We want to go on to state,” Hinkey said. “We have to go really hard in our first game.”
Foster said in the playoffs it’s critical to focus just on the next opponent and not look too far ahead.
“Some of our younger kids, they’ll realize real quick that it’s a little more intense,” Foster said. “Not that our level of intensity isn’t going to match anyone elses. Everyone gives their best effort. There’s no reason to save any energy for anything after it.”
Also Wednesday, Manogue hosts No. 4 McQueen. The Miners beat the Lancers, 71-27, on Jan. 6.
In other quarterfinal games, No. 3 Galena is at No. 2 Reed and No. 3 North Valleys is at No. 2 Douglas. Douglas beat North Valleys, also on Dec, 2. 59-52. Reed beat Galena, 52-46 in mid-January.
After losing three of its first four games, Lowry roared to life, losing just once more, to a California school, and has the top seed for the I-A tournament, which begins Friday in Fallon.
Lowry will face Spring Creek, which it beat twice, most recently, 43-26 on Feb. 13.
No. 2 seed Elko will face Fallon. The teams split this season with Fallon taking a 51-48 win on Jan. 24.
The Incline girls ended a 29-year drought last season by taking the state title.
This season, the Highlanders picked up where they left off, racing out to 12-0 league record, 19-3 overall. All three losses were to California schools, the last on Dec. 12, a run of 15 consecutive wins.
West Wendover and Silver Stage will play on Wednesday for the final Division III playoff spot. That winner will face Incline on Friday at Incline.
In the other semifinal, No. 2 seed Pershing County plays No. 3 Yerington at 3 p.m. Friday. Pershing County won both games this season, the most recent on Jan. 23, 35-19.
Smith Valley and McDermitt are the top seeds here. Smith Valley went 15-1 in league 25-2 overall, with the lone league loss at the hands of Pyramid lake in early January, a loss the Bulldogs later avenged. Smith Valley won the rematch, 60-45 on Saturday.
McDermitt went 9-1 in league, but the loss was to No. 2 seed Eureka on Feb. 13.
McDermitt will play Mineral County in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Smith Valleys plays No. 4-seed Wells.
In the other quarterfinals, No. 2 Pyramid Lake plays No. 3 Owyhee. No. 2 Eureka will face No. 3 Virginia City. Ken Fujii, who coaches Virginia City this season, was the coach at Eureka last season.
NORTHERN REGION TOURNAMENTS
Quarterfinals, Wednesday: 7., McQueen at Bishop Manogue; Galena at Reed; Carson at Reno; North Valleys at Douglas.
Semifinals, Friday: at Carson, 5:30,. winner vs. Reed-Galena winner; 7:15 ., Reno-Carson winner vs. winner.
Championship, Saturday: at Carson, 4.
Semifinals, Friday: at, 3 ., vs. ; 6:20 ., vs. Spring Creek.
Championship: Saturday, at, noon.
Semifinals, Friday: at Incline, 3., Pershing County vs. Yerington; 6:20 .; Incline vs. West Stage winner.
Championship, Saturday: at Incline, noon
Quarterfinals, Thursday: at Spring Creek. High School 3., Smith Valley vs. Wells; 6:20 ., vs. Mineral County
At Spring Creek Middle School, 4:40., Eureka vs. Virginia City; 8 ., Pyramid Lake vs.
Semifinals, Friday: at Spring Creek HS, 3. and 6:20 .
Championship, Saturday: at Spring Creek HS, 11.