TAHOE CITY - Liz Buhler caught fire from the perimeter and Angela Wood converted numerous fast-break points to help lead the North Tahoe girls basketball team to a 38-22 win over visiting Whittell on Friday.
The Mount Rose League opponents played to an 8-8 draw after one quarter, but the Lakers took over the momentum in the second and third quarters with an active defensive effort that led directly to offense.
The hosts outscored the Warriors 7-2 in the second quarter and 10-4 in the third to extend their lead to an 11-point margin, 25-14, entering the fourth.
"We had our opportunities early, but we missed a lot of layups and free throws," said North Tahoe coach Rick Buhler, whose Lakers played without starting center Sage Chador, who suffered a pinched nerve in her neck during warmups, as well as Mallory Tyler, who was sick. "But it was a big team win."
The Warriors played even more shorthanded, as they were missing starters Emily Harris, Sierra Forvilly and Gisselle Benitez. That left senior scoring leader Amanda Harris to carry the load, which North Tahoe countered by switching its 2-1-2 zone defense to a box-and-one, with Liz Buhler guarding Amanda Harris.
It worked, as the Warriors struggled to get into their offense with the active Harris twin covered closely. She finished with a team-high 10 points.
"The first quarter was even, but they kind of took control in the second, and then you could see the rest of it. We couldn't get any rebounds," said Whittell coach Tom Esposito. "It didn't help that we had three starters out."
In addition to her defensive contributions, Liz Buhler injected life into the Lakers' offense with a hot shooting hand. She scored seven points in the third quarter and poured in a game-high 17 points on the night, making two 3-pointers along the way. It was a welcome performance for the senior point guard, who struggled with her shot early in the season but is beginning to find her stroke.
"Yeah, I definitely had a slow start, but I'm finally getting it going, just in time," said Buhler, who also complimented her Lakers' team play, particularly compared to their last meeting against the Warriors when they lost 37-24. "We played as a team, which was a key part of why we fell apart last time we played them."
Wood also created havoc for the Warriors, as the junior guard used her athleticism to create a number of turnovers and convert them into transition layups. She finished with 13 points, while Sara Trimm and Taylor Briggs each contributed four points.
Kenya Maltase scored six points for Whittell and Tori Jimenez had four.
"It was a big win after our showing last time against them, more for the psyche of the team than anything," coach Buhler said.
North Tahoe is now 8-9 overall and 2-4 in the Mount Rose League. Whittell is 8-12 overall and 1-5 in league.
W 8 2 4 8 - 22
N 8 7 10 13 - 38