“Manogue played a great game,” Reno coach Shane Foster said. “They were aggressive. They attacked the basket and took it to us. They weren’t just happy to be here. They wanted to win.”
With 1:41 to go in the game, Manogue’s Kim Kirtinich got a runner to fall for two of her game-high 14 points. The bucket got the Miners within two, 41-39, but it’s as close as they could get.
Two possessions later, Reno executed its half-court offense for a layup as Huskies’ post Liz Messick got position and drop-stepped for an easy two. Reno then rebounded a missed Miners shot and that forced Manogue to foul. Stephanie Rovetti canned the ensuing two foul shots for the Huskies and they had stretched their lead to 45-39 with 32 ticks to go.
Rovetti and Messick scored 15 and 14 points respectively to pace the Huskies’ offense.
“I think we had a few defensive lapses and took a few plays off,” Rovetti said. “Plus they made some good shots, but we didn’t get the tempo where we wanted it.”
Manogue turned the ball over on its next trek down the court and had to foul again. Reno’s Stevi Cooper connected on 1 of 2 free throws with 16 seconds remaining to account for the final score.
“My kids were prepared,” Manogue coach Richard Shaw said. “I felt like I had a good feel for those Reno kids and our kids did everything I asked them to. We had a couple, what I call dumb-dumb mistakes, but the kids executed almost everything and as a coach that’s all I can ask.”
The game was tight throughout. However, with 5:49 showing on the fourth-quarter clock, it looked like Reno might pull away. The Huskies had gotten a 3-pointer and driving layup from Rovetti to extend their edge to a game-high eight points, 41-33.
That’s when Manogue answered with six straight points to set the stage for the crunchtime drama.
Midway through the first quarter, Miners guard Amy Yeager dropped a three-point bomb that saw Manogue jump on top 6-4. Unfortunately for fans of the private Catholic school, it was the Miners’ lone lead of the postseason affair.
Reno answered with back-to-back treys from Shannon Gough and a Messick putback to grab a 12-6 lead but Manogue proceeded to post the next six points and knot the game at 12-12 early in the second period.
The game was still tied, 18-18, after Kirtinich dropped in a runner with 2:24 to go before the break. Kirtinich finished with 14 points to lead the Miners (15-12). She was the lone Manogue player to finish in double figures in the scoring column.
Reno wound up taking a 24-20 lead into the locker room at the intermission and led 36-30 after three periods.
The semifinal win gives Reno (24-4) its third straight trip to the state tournament, which will be held at Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada campus in Reno next week. Reno will meet High Desert League rival Reed today at 4 p.m. in the Northern 4A title game, also at SSHS.
“This was the game that punches your ticket to state,” Foster said. “This is where the pressure was. If you won, you go to state. If you lost, you’re done.”