The Reno High boys basketball team turned a close game into a blowout in the second half, defeating McQueen, 74-54, on Saturday at Reno.
The Lancers struggled to find any offense during the third quarter. The Huskies went on a 17-0 run during that span.
"It's a statement," Reno's Jakob Rolling said. "That's it."
The game was pivotal as both teams were trying to gain an upper hand in the race for the High Desert League playoffs.
The game was close during the first half. The teams exchanged leads, and neither was able to gain more than a four-point advantage.
Reno turned up the defensive intensity in the second half, which transitioned into easy buckets.
"It just came down to execution," McQueen coach John Franklin said. "Winning the third quarter was what we talked about at halftime. We just didn't compete in the third quarter, and that's basically what lost us the game."
McQueen's Kody Eckert was the focus of Reno's defensive game plan. Coming into the game, he was averaging better than 23 points per game, and Reno coach Matt Ochs knew that keeping him in check would be key for his team.
"Kody is a fantastic player," Ochs said. "Obviously, he's going to be a main focus of any team's defense."
The task of slowing down one of Northern Nevada's most prolific scorers fell on Rolling.
"I challenged Jakob Rolling before the game," Ochs said. "I said, 'You're our best offensive player. Today, I need you to be our best defensive player.'"
Rolling did just that by bothering Eckert into a difficult shots. Eckert was held to just 11 points, far from his usual output.
"I just used my athleticism," Rolling said. "Always stay in front of him and even if he got a shot up, it was going to be a hard shot. That was my goal, that he didn't score."
With the win, Reno improved to 5-4 in the High Desert, and McQueen fell to 3-6. The loss created some distance in the competitive league.
Franklin said he understood how the loss would affect his team.
"We gotta go back to the drawing board," he said. "We gotta go back to the basics. Today was a game I think we absolutely had to have, and we didn't get it. We're back to square one."