Vikings nearly upset top-ranked Manogue | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Vikings nearly upset top-ranked Manogue

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports edtior

Heart and effort are the great athletic equalizers.

South Tahoe High had both on its side on Friday night as the Vikings nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the Northern Nevada basketball season.

The Vikings led by as many as 14 points in the first half against top-ranked Bishop Manogue in South Lake Tahoe The Miners didn’t take their first lead until the final quarter before unleashing their suffocating defense to pull out a hard-fought 52-44 Sierra Division win.

“I thought they came to play. That was great. I like a good game,” said Manogue coach Bill Ballinger. “I just thought they played harder than we did. I thought they outplayed us the first three quarters, and they wanted it more than we did.”

Considering Manogue beat the Vikings 93-28 the first time the teams met in Reno, the rematch was expected to be a breeze for the unbeaten Sierra Division leaders.

Hardly.

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“We don’t worry about scores; other people worry about scores,” Ballinger said. “I don’t think we made a trey in the first half, and the last time we saw them we made about 10 treys in the first half. I’m not taking anything away from South Tahoe; they played a great game.”

The Vikings were the aggressors from the start. Seniors Thomas Eidam and Garrett Tinlin repeatedly burned the Miners for fast-break baskets, and Manogue was uncharacteristically coughing up the ball in transition. With Tinlin scoring six quick points, the Vikings bolted to an 8-0 lead with 4 minutes, 57 seconds to go in the opening quarter.

Before the first quarter elapsed, Eidam added two more layups and Braun banked in a shot in the final seconds as STHS built an improbable 20-6 lead.

“That was like a dream come true,” said South Tahoe coach Chris Proctor. “We talked about having to hold onto the ball longer, make them play defense and look for backdoor opportunities.”

Manogue knifed into the double-digit lead in the second quarter behind a 14-2 spurt, but the Vikings answered just before halftime to take a 26-20 lead. Tinlin scored his ninth and 10th points of the half on an inbound pass from Eidam, and Eidam tacked on two more points on a crisp pass from McQuade Brubaker.

South Tahoe (2-8 in league) stayed in front throughout the third quarter, but Manogue star Bobby Hunter began to wake up. After only scoring two points in the first half, Hunter netted back-to-back buckets to make the score 32-29 South Tahoe. The teams exchanged foul shots in the final minute of the quarter, which ended with the Vikings in front 34-31. Reserve Wade Norberg re-energized his team with a blocked shot in the closing seconds of the quarter.

Manogue, however, made a decisive run to start the fourth quarter, and Hunter triggered it. His three-pointer from the wing jump-started a 15-0 run that culminated with Steven Carlson’s second rebound basket of the run. Hunter scored seven of his game-high 18 points during the scoring flurry, which ended with Manogue ahead 46-34.

“I knew they’d make a run, and we had to asborb it,” Proctor said. “We did a decent job until the start of the fourth quarter. We ran out of guys who weren’t tired.”

South Tahoe pulled within nine points on two free throws by Ricky Braun with 2:00 remaining, but didn’t get the deficit inside 10 points again until Braun banked in a 16-foot shot as time expired.

“They have so many moments where they are playing the way I know they can play. The big challenge is to convince them of that. Games like that help,” Proctor said. “They can play like this on a regular basis, and they can beat teams.

“I’m proud of them. I hope they understand it’s not a win, but it definitely demonstrates to them that if they play together and execute like we ask them, they can have some success.”

Manogue improved to 17-4, including 10-0 in league games.

The Vikings, who were led by Eidam’s 14 points, will play host to Galena on Tuesday.

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