South Tahoe basketball gears for opener; Hosts 3-day tournament

The tournament schedule is as follows: Thursday, Dec. 8        4 p.m. South Tahoe Frosh vs Incline Frosh        5:30 p.m. South Tahoe JV vs Incline JV        7 p.m. Douglas V vs Ashland V (Oregon)        8:30 p.m. South Tahoe V vs Lincoln (San Francisco)  Friday, Dec. 9        4 p.m. South Tahoe Frosh vs Douglas Frosh        5:30 p.m. South Tahoe JV vs Douglas JV        7 p.m. Ashland V (Oregon) vs Lincoln V (San Francisco)        8:30 p.m. South Tahoe V vs Incline V Saturday, Dec. 10        1 p.m. Douglas Frosh vs Incline Frosh        2:30 p.m. Douglas JV vs Incline JV        4 p.m. Incline V vs Lincoln V (San Francisco)        5:30 p.m. Ashland V (Oregon) vs South Tahoe V

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Tahoe Vikings boys’ basketball team is gearing up for its season opener next week which will be immediately followed by hosting a tournament featuring top teams from the area and beyond.

The Vikings open the 2022-23 season Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Fernley, and will return home for its 3-day tournament, the South Tahoe High School Invitational, starting on Thursday, Dec. 8, and last through Saturday, Dec. 10.

The Vikings return nine players this year from a team that reached the playoffs a year ago (15-9, 8-2 3A Northern West League).

Heading the list of returning players is All-League (honorable mention) Joel Gomez, who is considered a top defensive player, and Chris Haven, the team’s best sharp shooter.

The seniors are team captains and second year coach Tom Maurer said the two are working with other returning players focusing on defense and “potent” offense.

“We have great experience and the captains are doing a great job familiarizing the team with my defense and motion offense,” Maurer said.

Evan Orr, who is recovering from an off-season injury, will be the Vikings “big man” in the middle. Helping Orr inside and on the wings are returning junior Jay Butterfass, seniors Caden Matthews and Levi Hernandez and football star Tommy Morton.

Along with Gomez, guard play consists of Phil Adina, Ronan Fisher, Alexis Ramirez Zepeda and JR Elizalde.

“I feel further along this year, and the team is responding to the commitment needed to win a zone championship,” Maurer said. “I am also impressed with the players who played summer ball. South Tahoe has a great tradition. I’m proud to have a great administration, community support and a great group of teachers at South Tahoe.”

Maurer is bringing in strong competition for the tournament including Incline Village Highlanders, Douglas Tigers, Ashland Grizzlies from Oregon and Lincoln Mustangs from the Bay Area.

“This year is going to be fun to watch and (the tournament) will help the team get ready for league,” Maurer said. 

Incline is led by 10th year coach Tim Kelly, who has guided the Highlanders to three straight state championship games, winning the title in 2018-19 and finishing runners-up in 2019-20 and 2021-22. 

The Highlanders are led by sophomore guard Timmy Williams, the 2022 Northern Nevada Offensive Player of the Year and First Team all state. Joining him are All Conference players James DaMarais and Luc Casini.

Ashland is coming off the best season in school’s history and returns 10 players from last year. They play in Oregon’s 5A division and are favorites to win their Midwestern League and to contend for a state title. They are coached by Sam Osofsky in his eighth year at the helm.  Best players are Izzy Golden, who shoots 42% beyond the arc, and Sila Wright, a 6-foot-7 guard/forward who is considered one of Oregon’s most versatile players.

Lincoln from San Francisco plays in the Academic Athletic Association in Division 2 with a student body of 1,800. They are the defending league champions and finished at 26-7. They return nine seniors (three starters) and are led by fourth year varsity players, twins Jeremyah Aquino and Justin Aquino. They are coached by Carl Jacobs.

The Douglas Tigers are coached by Cory Thacker and are coming off a near state championship season.

The tournament will feature all levels, frosh, junior varsity and varsity.

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