TRUCKEE - The top two girls basketball teams in the Mount Rose League appeared destined for a tightly contested finish, perhaps even overtime, as they swapped leads through the first two and a half quarters Tuesday night.
South Tahoe stopped scoring midway through the third quarter, however, and host Truckee rattled off 20 unanswered points to turn a 25-23 deficit into a 45-27 win.
"We got out-rebounded in the third quarter and nothing dropped for us," said South Tahoe coach Mike Neiger. "We just had a really bad third quarter and we couldn't recover."
The Vikings' scoring woes continued until the final buzzer, as they mustered only two points in the fourth quarter and went nearly 10 minutes of the second half without a bucket. After taking over the lead at 25-23 on a perimeter shot by Riley Chapman in the third quarter, South Tahoe didn't score again until Alisa Caro hit an outside shot with 3:25 remaining in the game.
"Defensively, we really clamped down after we went to a zone," said Truckee coach Geoff Stephens, explaining how the Wolverines made their run. "We know we can match them man-to-man, but we had a player sick, and it just wasn't effective (in the first half) tonight."
Truckee's second-half dominance was in stark contrast to the first 20 minutes of the contest, when the Division I-A foes traded seven lead changes and were tied on nine occasions. Truckee led 9-8 after one quarter and 21-19 at the half.
Chapman connected on three consecutive shot attempts in the opening minutes of the third quarter to give the Vikings their final lead at 25-23. Truckee senior forward Jackie Bolton then tied the score with a basket in the post, and senior forward/guard Sydnie English put the Wolverines in front for good with a baseline drive and layup.
Boosted by a couple of steals that led to uncontested layups, Truckee scored the final 12 points of the quarter to establish control with a 10-point lead, 35-25. English and Bolton also scored several times on backdoor cuts when overplayed on defense.
"We had no offensive continuity in the first half. In the second half we started using Syd's athletic ability and taking advantage of mismatches," Stephens said. "And then when they started helping on Syd, that left Jackie open."
After senior guard Katey Hamill opened the fourth quarter with a difficult left-handed layup on a fast break, junior guard Kaylee Neill heated up to score the next six points, including a 3-pointer to extend Truckee's lead to 43-25.
Caro finally ended the Vikings' scoring drought with a high-arcing swish from just inside the 3-point line. But with 3 1/2 minutes remaining, all the Wolverines had left to do was run out the clock.
"They wanted this win," Stephens said. "They (the Vikings) are our strongest competition in our pod."
English led all scorers with 14 points, while Bolton finished with 10 points, Neill had six and Hamill four.
Bailey David scored a team-high eight points for the Vikings and Chapman had six.
Truckee improved to 12-7 overall and 5-0 in Mount Rose League play. South Tahoe fell to 7-10 overall and 2-1 in league.