Whatever adjustments the Vikings made at halftime worked.
South Tahoe exploded into the second half with four unanswered layups, setting the tone for a 56-29 win over Whittell in front of a packed crowd at South Tahoe High School on Saturday.
The boys were evenly matched in the first half, swapping the lead several times through the opening minutes. The Vikings had the height, nine guys 6 feet or taller, and the experience, 11 seniors, but Whittell held its own in the first half.
The Warriors have a starting lineup averaging 5-11, a freshman point and a sophomore two guard, but they had a game plan. That plan carried them to a 9-8 lead in the first, and contained South Tahoe to a manageable 15-11 by halftime.
But that was the first half.
South Tahoe eclipsed any chance of a Whittell comeback in the first few minutes of the second.
South Tahoe's Brandon Cramer and Hayden Bronken exchanged layups to push the Vikings to a comfortable 23-14 lead in a matter of minutes.
"They got the three breakaway layups and that set the tone," Whittell coach Phil Bryant said. "It was kind of crushing. We were down, but we were playing all right. But they exposed our weaknesses."
The Vikings had figured it out, and without much bench depth the Warriors were running on empty.
"That's what we seem to do," South Tahoe Coach Chris Proctor said. "Somewhere in the middle of the third or by the fourth we wear teams down."
South Tahoe outscored Whittell 41-18 in the second half.
Cale Backinger led the South Tahoe boys with 14 points, four rebounds and a 6-of-8 performance from the line. To cap it off, he flicked a pass away from Whittell in the fourth for a rim-rattling closing statement. It was Backinger's second game back with the Vikings.
"I got my first game out of my system yesterday against Sparks, I knew that I wanted to make a big play and our team needed it," Backinger said.
Cramer came away with 10 points, and Kyante Wilson knocked in seven and grabbed five rebounds.
South Tahoe improved to 10-9 overall and 8-3 in Mount Rose League play.
"We have to take this second half very seriously. I think we have a good schedule coming up for us," Proctor said. "We've played a lot of big games on the road, but have a few big games at home could really help us."
The Warriors are 11-8 overall and 1-5 in Mount Rose League play.
South Tahoe 9 6 25 16 - 56
Whittell 8 3 11 7 - 29
Northern I-A (as of Tuesday)
So Tahoe 5-3
Sp. Creek 2-6
Mount Rose (as of Tuesday)
Team League Overall
Sparks 7-2 12-8
S. Tahoe 8-3 10-9
Incline 2-3 10-10
N. Tahoe 2-4 7-11
Truckee 3-6 8-10
Whittell 1-5 11-8