Highlanders record first win against South Tahoe
A new Lake Tahoe basketball rivalry may have been spawned on Tuesday night in South Lake Tahoe.
Incline High, a Nevada 2A state semifinalist last season, surprised South Tahoe 63-55 to provide what coach Dan Schreiber believes is the Highlanders’ first-ever win over the Vikings.
The schools never met during Tom Orlich’s 25-year coaching career at STHS, but have now played several times in the past five years as the schools’ enrollments inch closer to one another.
“I’m all for that (rivalry). They are a good team,” said STHS coach Chris Proctor. “They have a good set of players who can really make things happen. They have a lot ways to come at you.”
After trailing by two points at halftime, Incline took control in the third quarter by switching from a zone to man-to-man defense for the final 16 minutes of the nonleague game.
“The crowd was really into it, and they are a good team,” said Incline 6-foot-4 senior Josh Dykstra. “It’s always tough to come into a 4A’s house, especially in a really close game, to take it.”
Schreiber said he employed a zone defense in the first half to slow down the Vikings’ good looks at the basket and keep his team rested for the second half.
“Just a little bit of rhythm change,” Schreiber said. “We went to a zone because we were doing a lot of substituting in regards to trying to control the tempo. They were getting a lot of easy backdoors and it was a way of giving some of our kids a rest.”
The Highlanders (4-0) withstood several fourth-quarter rallies by the Vikings but always came up with an answer to the adversity at hand.
Dykstra led the Highlanders with 23 points, including 10 in the final quarter when the Vikings were poised to pull off the comeback victory.
“I could see they were getting momentum. With their press they were getting turnovers and five-second falls,” Dykstra said. “I’m just glad we kept our composure and came out with the win.”
South Tahoe’s last momentum push came when senior guard Ricky Braun connected on a three-point shot to make the score 59-55 with 33 seconds remaining. Following a unproductive possession by each team, the Vikings were able to cause a turnover in the backcourt with 14.7 seconds left. But South Tahoe senior Garrett Tinlin became emotional after causing an Incline turnover and was whistled for taunting.
“It was such a tough thing to handle because we wanted a turnover off of our press,” Proctor said. “That’s not his nature. He was just fired up. That was our big lesson. When everyone thinks you are gonna point a finger or do something unsportsmanlike, do just the opposite.”
Incline coach Dan Schreiber was concerned with the turnovers were causing at that point.
“That was a huge momentum turn,” he said. “They put more pressure on the ball out of bounds and got two straight turnovers out of it.”
As he did throughout the second half, Incline’s Micha Corneil capitalized on his opportunities at the charity stripe, sinking both technical foul shots for a 61-55 lead. Corneil added two more free throws with 4.3 remaining to complete scoring.
Corneil scored 15 of his 22 points in a second half that saw the Highlanders put up 41 points. He also made all eight of his free throw attempts, which is no surprise to his coach.
“It’s expected now,” Schreiber said. “He’s been that way for the four years I’ve had him. I think he’s shot over 150 free throws at 92 percent.”
Braun made three shots beyond the arc and led the Vikings with 18 points.
South Tahoe made a season-high six three-point shots. Tinlin was the only other Viking in double figures with 10 points.
South Tahoe (2-3) will play host to North Valleys on Thursday night, while Incline entertains Dayton on Wednesday night.
“It’s a good gutcheck for us,” Schreiber said. “They came out with a lot of momentum leading at halftime. These kids found their rhythm.”
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