TAHOE CITY — The North Tahoe girls found out Tuesday why Portola has not lost a game this season.
The Tigers used a suffocating full-court press defense that flustered Laker ball handlers and led to multiple turnovers in a 59-25 nonleague win.
“That (the press) frustrated them a little bit,” North Tahoe coach Shaun Chilkotowsky said of his players. “They had lanes to dribble, but once they’d get the ball in their hands they’d panic. So I think the press got to us mentally more than physically.”
In all, the Tigers recorded 29 steals in the game, led by junior Abby Folchi’s 10 steals and junior Rachel Wehrman’s seven.
The Lakers started out with promise. They jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after Savannah App fed a pass in the post to Angela Wood, who was fouled but still made the basket and free throw to convert the three-point play.
The Tigers scored the next 11 points and began to take control with their quickness and athleticism. They led 15-7 at the end of the first quarter.
“We’d get beat on the first step and then just start watching,” Chilkotowsky said. “We’re a good team; we just need to put it all together as a team.”
After Folchi hit a midrange shot to open the second quarter, North Tahoe senior forward Taylor Briggs put in a free throw and scored in the post to cut the lead to 17-10. The Lakers could not get any closer, however, as the Tigers closed out the half on an 8-2 run.
North Tahoe junior point guard Sara Trimm opened the second half with a bucket. But again Portola countered with a 9-0 run to build its lead to 34-14 midway through the third quarter.
With the game pretty well out of reach, Chilkotowsky was able to sub in some of his younger players. And they did a commendable job. Freshman Jillian Argiris hit a midrange shot late in the third quarter and freshman teammate Camryn Turner followed by sinking a shot from similar range.
Despite their large lead, the Tigers kept up their defensive pressure into the fourth quarter. Wood hit a 3-pointer and Trimm scored on a fast break for the Lakers’ only points of the quarter.
“Physically and athletically, we can hang with anyone in the league” Chilkotowsky said. “We just need to work on our fundamentals and hustle.”
Wood led the Lakers with 12 points and four steals, while Trimm finished with four points and App three. Folchi scored a team-high 14 points for Portola. Alli Ramelli scored 13, Sandra Kibble 10 and Wehrman eight.
North Tahoe is 0-2 on the year and Portola 4-0.