ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. - Alex Tyler took a last look from about 20 feet out. It was a long shot, but so was the 12-point deficit that North Tahoe overcame after the first quarter.
Tyler glanced at the clock, 4 seconds, and made a decision. The shot sailed in, and with it the Warriors' two-point lead vanished as they dropped their first league game 62-63 at home Saturday.
A surprising finish to a game that looked like an easy win for the Warriors in the first quarter.
Austin Neil and Palmer Chaplin absolutely charged through the first 8 minutes, exchanging threes and converting Lakers turnovers. When their first-quarter crusade came to an end, the Warriors had a 21-9 lead.
The early surge fizzled quickly, however, as North Tahoe steadily outscored the Warriors for the next three quarters.
"We had over 30 turnovers and were out-rebounded and that's where games are won and lost," Whittell coach Phil Bryant said in an email.
The turnovers sliced Whittell's comfortable 12-point lead to an uncomfortable eight points by halftime. In the second half, North Tahoe continued to squeeze past Whittell's defense and chopped it to four.
"I wasn't able to find the best defense for us to be in as they were closing on us," Bryant said. "We tried a number of different defenses to try and stop their inside game and we were not able to do it."
By the fourth quarter, North Tahoe pulled even at 60-60.
Garrett Bronken busted up the tie at the freethrow line. Bronken also pulled down the offensive rebound, and it looked like Whittell could hang on at 62-60, but there was still 38 seconds on the clock.
Enough time for North Tahoe to get a final look, and unfortunately for the Warriors it was a three-pointer.
Neil had a game high 24 points, followed by Bronken with 14 and Chaplin with nine.
The loss comes on the heels of a 61-52 win at Yerington, Friday. -
The Warriors put up solid defensive in the second half behind Neil, who had an 11-point third quarter.
Derek Heldt-Werle turned in a standout performance off the bench when Neil got into foul trouble. Heldt-Werle scored 13 points and came through with key steals and rebounds.
Bryce Bronken, Mark Waite and Rodney Aguirre-Rodriquez were their usual reliable defensive selves with hustle plays and steals.
Chaplin has also emerged as one of the Warriors most reliable players this season. --
"He hasn't gotten a lot of credit so far but we are extremely happy with the progress freshman Palmer Chaplin has made at this point," Bryant said. "He has gotten steadily better and continues to improve with each game. Plus, it has allowed us to move senior Garrett Bronken to the wing where he can be more productive as a scorer."
The Warriors are now 9-3 overall and 0-1 in league. The boys will play Sparks (8-8) at home Friday at 7:30 p.m.
North Tahoe 63, Whittell 62
NT 9 19 16 19 - 63
W 21 15 12 14 - 62