The Battle Mountain High School girls basketball team is back in the NIAA 2A State Championships for the first time since 2018.
The Lady Longhorns entered the Northern 2A Regional Championship in Winnemucca with a first-round bye and needed just a victory over North Tahoe this past Friday to advance to Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
After a slow start at Lowry High School against North Tahoe, Battle Mountain pulled away in the final three quarters for a 40-26 win.
“We knew we matched up with them pretty good,” said BMHS coach Paul Tremayne. “That is why we worked so hard for that No. 2 seed.”
The Lakers scored the first four points of the contest and led much of the first quarter. Zarina Ceja ended the Lady Longhorns’ scoreless streak with a 3-pointer and Jade Castellanos added back-to-back baskets at the end of the first eight minutes of play to give Battle Mountain a 10-8 lead.
The Lady Longhorns would not trail again.
Battle Mountain shook off the early-game nerves and Yezzel Guizar and Brynnlee Freeman opened the second quarter with 3-pointers to push the lead to 16-8. The Lady Longhorns capped off the eventual 14-0 run with a layup by Ceja and two free throws by Marena Fuller.
After going scoreless for nearly 10 minutes, North Tahoe got back on the scoreboard with 2:07 left in the first and then added a 3-pointer to cut the gap to 20-13. Christina Holley added a bucket at the end of the first to give the Lady Longhorns a 22-13 halftime lead.
The offensive woes for North Tahoe continued in the third quarter, with no field goals and a free throw in the final seconds.
Battle Mountain doubled up North Tahoe to lead 28-14 after three quarters of play and after scoring just 28 points in the first three quarters, the Lady Longhorns found its offensive touch with 18 points in the final eight minutes of play.
North Tahoe cut the deficit to 29-22 with 4:23 to go but two baskets by Guizar and another by Kaybrie Nield quickly pushed the advantage back to 35-22 and the Lady Longhorns were not threatened from there.
Incline 45, Battle Mountain 17
The Northern 2A moved to the Winnemucca Event Center for its championship game and Battle Mountain took on regular season champion Incline. The Lady Longhorns frustrated the Highlanders for much of the first half with a triangle-and-2 defense.
The two squads traded 3-pointers to begin the day and a 3-pointer by Ceja gave the Lady Longhorns an 8-6 advantage. That turned out to be the final points of the opening half for Battle Mountain.
Incline knocked down a 3-pointer late in the first quarter and cored all nine points in the second quarter to lead 18-8 at the break.
The lead grew to 29-8 in the third quarter, when Holley put back a missed shot with 2:10 left the quarter to end the 23-0 run by the Highlanders.
“I felt Christina played very well,” Tremayne said. “She played good defense against their best player. “
Nield led Battle Mountain with seven points, Guizar and Ceja each had three points and Holley and Fuller had two points apiece.
Battle Mountain travels to Reno and Lawlor Events Center for a 9 a.m. start on Friday against Lincoln County.
Incline plays Calvary Chapel at 12:20 p.m. in the other semifinal game. The championship is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday.