Composure was the razor-sharp difference between cutting down the nets and a heartbreaking three-point loss.
On Jan. 29, the Reno High girls basketball team squandered a 12-point lead in the second half to Bishop Manogue resulting in a three-point loss.
Fast-forward to Saturday where the Huskies swelled a five-point lead at halftime to a 65-45 thumping of the Miners, winning the Division I North championship.
"From about four minutes into the third quarter and through the fourth quarter, their commitment, their execution, their poise was phenomenal," Reno coach Shane Foster said. "And that was the difference in the game."
Unlike the previous meeting, the Huskies stuck to their game plan after intermission, spacing the floor and spreading the ball around. Four different Reno players netted double figures en route to the Huskies outscoring Manogue, 39-21, after halftime.
Reno's offensive flurry was spearheaded by Gigi Hascheff. The senior fended off double-teams throughout the second half, but Hascheff never buckled. Hascheff netted a game-high 22 points and dished it around.
"You can have an answer for Gigi at certain times, but as soon as you get an answer then you're going to get beat down low and Mallory (McGwire) is going to hurt you," Manogue coach Craig Holt said.
Hurt is an understatement. McGwire and her sister, Morgan, scored 18 and seven points, respectively. But the sisters' towering presence inside was felt more on the defensive end, with the Miners being forced to shoot off the dribble.
The McGwire sisters' dominance juxtaposed with a red-hot shooting night from Hascheff and Shay Shaw, who tallied 15 points, gave the Miners all they could handle.
"I think that's a more talented team than we are," Holt said. "They're just so deep, it's hard for us to match up against them."
The Huskies never trailed during the game. The regional championship appearance was Reno's sixth in seven seasons, with the Huskies cutting down the nets for the first time since 2010.
Reno will have a week to savor the victory before traveling to Las Vegas for the state championship tournament.
"We've played the best (teams) down there, so we know we can compete," Foster said. "It's going to be tough to go on the road. We have no idea who we play until Monday. Whoever it is, if you want to be the best, you got to beat the best."