Those who did were proved right Friday night as Reno capped a stellar 27-3 season with a 52-39 triumph over Bishop Gorman in the Division I state championship game at the Orleans Arena.
The state title is Reno's first since 2001. After a run of 11 straight state titles by southern Nevada schools, northern Nevada girls squads have won the last two.
"It feels pretty good," Reno coach Shane Foster said. "There was 11 straight years of south wins, all by Gorman and Centennial. To come down here and beat Centennial and Gorman for a state title feels phenomenal. To be the best, you have to beat the best and we did."
Bishop Gorman (21-10) took a 20-19 lead when it scored the first bucket of the second half on a runner by Tonisha Childress. That's as good as it got for the Gaels. It was their lone lead of the night and didn't even last 30 seconds.
Reno got into an offensive rhythm from there. Huskies point guard Gigi Hascheff got a driving layup to fall through the twine on Reno's next trip down the floor. The Huskies regained the lead 21-20 at the 6:26 mark of the third period and they pulled away from there.
Hascheff's bucket ignited a 12-0 Reno run. Shay Shaw wrapped up the key spurt with a 3-point play and a floater in the lane on back-to-back RHS possessions. The outburst left Reno on top 31-20.
"You have to play to win and for awhile I thought we were playing not to lose. Then in the third quarter, we got Gigi attacking the basket," Foster said. "We swung the ball. We didn't settle for shots and then we made some plays on defense."
Gorman tried to hang around. The Gaels got a layin from Rachel Stanley at the 7:21 mark of the fourth period and had trimmed the Reno lead to seven, 37-30. The Huskies responded by scoring the next six points.
Morgan McGwire concluded the modest string by canning 1 of 2 foul shots with 3:19 to go in the state tournament tilt. That forged Reno ahead 43-30. The 13-point gap was the widest margin of the contest.
Reno helped its cause by winning the war on the boards, out-rebounding Bishop Gorman 38-28. The Huskies also held the private Catholic school to just 13-of-56 shooting (23 percent).
Hascheff had a big night for Reno, turning in a game-high 20-point performance. Mallory McGwire chipped in 10 points toward the winning cause.
Childress was the lone Gorman player to tally double figures in the scoring column, finishing with 16 points.
The game looked like it might get ugly early. After the two teams traded 3-pointers to open the postseason affair, Reno scored the final 10 points of the first period to grab a 13-3 advantage after one quarter.
Reno led 15-4 after a layup by Mallory McGwire with 6:30 showing on the second-quarter clock. From there, Bishop Gorman began to chip away at the Huskies' lead. The Gaels put together an 8-0 run in a span of just over two minutes to get back to within three, 15-12.
"I think we started the game shooting too many threes," Foster said. "We hit a couple early but then we didn't. We kind of shot ourselves out to a lead and then shot ourselves out of the lead."
Two free throws by Hascheff and a McGwire layup made it 19-12, but Gorman got treys from Childress and Megan Jacobs to only trail by a point at the intermission, 20-19.
Reno's second-quarter scoring drought, allowed Gorman to get some runouts and score in transition, as well as get to the foul line, but in the end it mattered little.
"They made their run, but we kept our composure," said Reno's junior post Morgan McGwire. "We picked it up. You have to play on both sides of the court. When you play well on one side, you tend to do well on the other."
Reno returns four starters next season, only losing Hascheff, who will move on to play basketball at Sacramento State.