The North Tahoe boys and girls basketball teams wrapped up their seasons with quarterfinal losses in the Northern Division III regional tournaments in Elko this past Thursday.
The girls hung with neighboring rival Incline early before falling by a final score of 53-42. The boys played Silver Stage evenly through one quarter but could not stay with the larger Nighthawks in a 70-40 loss.
"Take that game out, and we had a pretty good year," said first-year Laker boys head coach Frank Wright, whose team finished 10-15 overall in its final season competing in the Mount Rose League, which combines Division I-A and Division III schools.
North Tahoe's boys, seeded seventh, were tasked with opening the regional tournament against a large, physical Silver Stage team, which carried the No. 2 seed.
As opposed to the first meeting between the two, when the Lakers fell behind by double digits early but stormed back in the second half to make things interesting in a 54-50 loss, North Tahoe matched buckets with the Nighthawks in the opening minutes.
But after an 11-11 tie to end the first quarter, the Nighthawks began to pull away as they built their halftime lead to 30-19. Silver Stage then took complete control with a big third quarter, putting the game out of reach.
"We played with them right away. We just didn't come out to play in the third quarter," Wright said. "They played a lot better than when we saw them at their place. They're big and strong, and they're all seniors."
Junior point guard Alex Tyler led the Lakers with 15 points. Stats were not available for Silver Stage, which went on to defeat third-seeded West Wendover 86-83 in overtime before losing to top-seeded Pershing County 57-50 in the regional championship. Both Pershing County and Silver Stage advanced to the state tournament.
Wright said he's unsure of the last time the Lakers played into the postseason, but he knows it's been a number of years.
"I think we brought back some of the winning tradition," he said. "It's been a long time since we've had success like that. It's a good start."
The fifth-seeded North Tahoe girls also kept their quarterfinal tight in the early going, as they led 14-13 after the first quarter.
The Highlanders, seeded No. 4, turned it on in the second quarter, however, taking advantage of a key injury to outscore the Lakers 14-2 and take a 27-16 lead into the half.
"We played well except for one quarter," said North Tahoe head coach Rick Buhler, adding that junior center Taylor Briggs went out with a bloody nose in second quarter, which cost the team on both ends of the floor. "That's been the story of our season. We could just never keep all five players on the court at the same time."
Briggs returned in the second half as the Lakers tried to cut into Incline's lead, which expanded to 44-24 by the end of the third quarter. North Tahoe outscored Incline 18-9 in the fourth to narrow the final margin to 11.
"We played well for three quarters, and the one quarter killed us. But I'm proud of the girls. They had a good season," Buhler said.
Junior guard Angela Wood led the Lakers with 20 points, while Kortney Solis scored 14 to lead the Highlanders, who went on to lose 54-44 to top-seeded Pershing County in the semifinal round. Pershing County defeated White Pine 42-30 for the regional title.
The North Tahoe girls finished the year 8-15 overall.