Comeback propels South Tahoe into Jamboree finals
South Tahoe came out of a second-half nosedive just in time Friday morning in the Lake Tahoe Basketball Jamboree.
After being outhustled and outscored 15-4 by the California School For the Deaf to start the second half, South Tahoe rallied from a six-point deficit in the closing minutes for a 34-33 victory.
The tight win – South Tahoe’s second of the three-day boys’ tournament – propelled the hosts into Saturday’s championship game.
South Tahoe (3-1) suffered its first tournament defeat, losing to unbeaten Hermiston 55-40 on Friday afternoon. The same two teams will meet in the finals at 12:10 p.m. Saturday in the blue gym.
Peter Pielaet-Strayer drove to his right and muscled up a six-foot shot to put South Tahoe ahead of CSFD for good, 34-33, with 32 seconds remaining. It was Pielaet-Strayer’s only two-point basket of the 40-minute game, but he led South Tahoe with 11 points.
Both teams struggled to keep possession in the remaining seconds, and an illegal screen by South Tahoe with :03 to go gave CSFD of Fremont, Calif., a chance to steal the win. But a one-and-one free throw attempt was missed and there was a lane violation anyway.
CSFD, however, didn’t quit, stealing the inbound pass and launching a buzzer-beating shot from 35 feet that hit the backboard.
Pielaet-Strayer pulled South Tahoe out of its second-half funk, canning three trifectas, the last of which provided a 32-31 lead with 4:12 left. Before Pielaet-Strayer found his range from beyond the arc, it was the inside play of Alvin Tautolo that sparked South Tahoe’s offense. Tautolo put back three offensive rebounds for six of his eight points. Kory DiGrande and Lee Espinosa added five points apiece.
Hermiston built an 18-11 lead midway through the first half before Tautolo capped an 11-4 South Tahoe run with two buckets, tying the score at 22. Streaky Hermiston went on a 7-0 tear to take control before halftime, but Pielaet-Strayer and Wade Norberg provided late baskets to make the score 33-26 at the break.
Norberg’s jump hook with 6:25 remaining pulled South Tahoe to within 42-38, but Hermiston ended the game on a 13-2 tear.
Norberg topped South Tahoe with 10 points, Pielaet-Strayer netted eight, Tautolo six and DiGrande five.
The South Tahoe girls lost to Alhambra 33-22 and Turlock 54-23. The 21-team girls’ championship will be decided following the boys’ final on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. in the blue gym.
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