New coach leads young STHS girls basketball team
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Last year’s girls basketball team at South Tahoe was able to reach the playoffs, but this year’s team is much different that last season’s squad, from the coach to a lot of the players.
“This years team, we’re a little bit young because a bunch of seniors graduated last year,” said first year varsity coach Mike Neiger. “But we’re high energy, looking to push the ball, play intense defense and create opportunities that way.”
Last year the Lady Vikings lost to Fallon in the first round of the playoffs. Neiger, who coached the freshman and middle school team last year, said that this team’s goal are to get right back to the postseason, with eyes on state.
“And winning league,” he said. “If you win league, you get to host a playoff game. So I’d rather do that than go on the road for the playoffs. That’s goal number one, to get to the playoffs.”
This team boasts only two seniors, though neither have played at the varsity level. Morgan Kank played JV last year, and Shelby McIntyre is joining the program at the guard position after a stellar cross country season that saw her finish second in state.
“She’s and elite level cross country runner, so I’m tapping into her energy for basketball. Her, along with Karley (Martinez) can beat opponents down the floor. They can just run,” Neiger said. “She’s got athleticism, she’s got effort, she’s got attitude. Those are things that I love to see out of a player.”
Martinez is sophomore with varsity experience, and one of the key returning players for the Vikings.
“She creates just by beating players to the spot,” Neiger said. “She can create a lot of easy layups and drop step buckets for herself because she can beat her post player to the block.”
Two returning varsity players that South Tahoe will also look to for leadership and plays on the court are juniors Brooke King and Bailey David. Both were part of playoff teams during the fall season, with King winning a state title with the girls soccer team and David one game away from a volleyball state title match. Both played on last year’s playoff team that lost in the first round.
“I feel like this year, with knowing how it feels (losing in the playoffs), people like me and Brooke will be able to lead our team to victory,” David said. “We’re not that tall, so we’re really going to have to get some good rebounds and defense is probably going to be our key also, because we’re pretty scrappy.”
“I think we’re going to do better, I think we have better offense than previous years,” King said. “I think we can make it to playoffs again.”
The Lady Vikings start out the season with a tough schedule. The face El Dorado High on Tuesday, then travel to Reno High School for the High Sierra Classic next weekend to face 4A schools Hug, Damante and Galena. After that they face Wooster and Douglas on back-to-back nights.
“I scheduled those games, because you’re only going to get stronger and prepare yourself for league by playing the bigger schools, the better opponents,” Neiger said.
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