Last weekend marked the busiest weekend of the sports season in Northern Nevada as the Nevada men's and women's basketball teams were in action; the Wolf Pack swimming and diving team competed in the Mountain West Championships, with a handful of high school locals also competing in the event; Nevada baseball and softball playing Pac-12 teams; and high school regionals in basketball being settled at four levels. So much was going on, it was easy to miss something, so let's recap the action.
Nevada men's basketball
The Wolf Pack survived a tough test at Fresno State and needed a late 15-0 run to stave off the Bulldogs in a 78-76 victory that all but clinched a Mountain West Tournament bye for the Wolf Pack. Nevada trailed 71-62 with 6 minutes, 45 seconds remaining before scoring the next 15 points to go up five points with 2:55 left. But it wasn't over as Fresno State got within one possession as New Williams' potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer missed. Nevada's backcourt led the way again with Jalen Harris (20), Nisre Zouzoua (19), Lindsey Drew (15) and Jazz Johnson (15) all scoring at least 15 points. Coach Steve Alford credited cake for the win. The victory didn't mathematically guarantee a MW Tournament bye since UNLV upset San Diego State, but the only way Nevada wouldn't get a bye would be if it lost its last two games; Colorado State won its last two; UNLV won its last two; and Boise State went 1-1 in its last two.
Nevada women's basketball
The Wolf Pack women's hopes of earning a MW Tournament bye were dashed when it lost at conference-leading Fresno State, 69-58. The Bulldogs dominated the game and led by 16 points heading into the final quarter. The Wolf Pack was held to 35.3 percent shooting, including 5-of-19 from three (26.3 percent). Essence Booker led Nevada with 16 points on 6-of-19 shooting while Da'Ja Hamilton added 15. Marguerite Effa chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds. The loss snapped the Wolf Pack's four-game winning streak. Nevada is tied for sixth in the MW at 7-9 and is two games behind fifth-place UNLV, which holds the tiebreaker over Nevada thanks to its win over Boise State earlier this season. The Wolf Pack hosts its senior night on Monday night against Wyoming.
The Wolf Pack baseball team is still looking for its first win of the season after getting swept by Oregon. Nevada was swept by Portland to start the season, so the Wolf Pack was 0-6 in its two trips to the Northwest. Nevada was more competitive against Oregon than it was against Portland, which out-scored the Wolf Pack 33-5. The Ducks out-scored Nevada, 15-5, the first two games being one-run decisions (the Ducks won 3-2 on Friday and Saturday). The good news for Nevada was the pitching of Owen Sharts and Jake Jackson, the team's top two hurlers who allowed one earned run in 13 innings. But the Wolf Pack offense hasn't found a groove. Nevada has been held to two runs or fewer in five of its first six games and its season high in scoring is four runs. Only one Wolf Pack regular is hitting above .217. Nevada's home opener is Friday against Hofstra as part of a tournament that includes Wichita State.
Nevada went 3-2 over the weekend, including a win Sunday over Stanford (the Cardinal went 2-1 against Nevada in the three-game series). That pushed Nevada's record to 4-10 on the season. Kendall Fritz earned the win over Stanford on Sunday pitching 3.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit. Mele Tausinga popped a home run and drove in three. Ashley Salausa also drove in three as Nevada rallied from a 3-1 deficit to score the game's final seven runs in an 8-3 win. The Wolf Pack defense showed improvement as it has just four errors in the last four games after posting 30 errors in the first 10 games, including five games with at least five errors. Nevada, which opened the season in Mexico, next heads to Hawaii for a tournament, which kicks off Thursday against Oregon State.
Nevada swimming and diving
The Wolf Pack swimming and diving team finished second at the MW Championship behind San Diego State, which scored a meet-record 1,436.50 points to Nevada's 1,015.50. It is the seventh straight season the Wolf Pack has finished in the top three of the MW and the second straight year with a silver-medal finish. Andressa Cholodovskis, the Wolf Pack's lone senior, was Nevada's top scorer with 86 points. A number of ex-local prep stars competed in the event, including Nevada's Donna dePolo (Bishop Manogue), who finished second in the 200 medley and 800 free relays while placing in the top six in the 200 IM (sixth), 100 breaststroke (fifth) and 200 breaststroke (fourth). She qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trails in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. SDSU's McKenna Meyer (Galena) was on the gold-medal-winning 400 and 800 free relays as well as the gold-medal-winning 400 IM team. She was fourth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 200 backstroke. Nevada's Benedict Nagy (McQueen) finished 10th in the 400 IM, 17th in the 200 IM and 22nd in the 200 backstroke. San Jose State's Madison Grimes (Reed) finished 45th in the 50 free, 26th in the 100 back and 31st in the 200 backstroke.
Spanish Springs sweeps 4A titles
The Spanish Springs boys won its second Northern 4A Regional in three years after beating rival Reed by one point, 50-49, despite playing without senior Cordell Stinson, who was out with an ankle sprain. The Raiders upset Bishop Manogue in the semifinal and had beaten Spanish Springs in the regular-season finale but couldn't quite strike another upset in the regional title game. Mason Whitaker and Trey Hummell each scored 18 points for Spanish Springs, which faces eight-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman in this week's state playoffs. Reed also advances to state and plays Durango. The Spanish Springs girls also won the 4A title, beating Bishop Manogue, 52-47, in overtime to defend its 4A crown. Jada Townsell hit two go-ahead free throws before Lauryn Dressler sealed the game from the line. Spanish Springs game will play Desert Oasis at state; Bishop Manogue gets Spring Valley.
Thrillers at the 3A level
As good as the 4A regional title games were, the 3A level was even more exciting. On the boys side, Churchill County out-lasted Elko, 50-47, in double overtime after the Indians got to the title game with an overtime with over rival Lowry. It is the second straight 3A Regional title for Churchill County, which also won state last season. The Greenwave and Indians split the regular-season series. Churchill County gets Boulder City in state while Elko draws Del Sol. In the girls' 3A title game, Fernley beat Truckee, 50-47, to win its first regional championship in 22 years. Fernley gets Pahrump Valley in state while Truckee draws Moapa Valley. Incline's boys and girls swept the 2A titles while Mineral County's boys and girls swept the 1A crowns.