Holmes takes over ‘athletic’ STHS girls | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Holmes takes over ‘athletic’ STHS girls

Steve Yingling

Building a girls’ basketball program at South Tahoe High has been one of the toughest coaching assignments in the area over the past decade.

Ever since Brenda Wyneken left the program in the early 1990s, the Vikings have struggled to put a winning program together.

The demanding task now is in the hands of Chris Holmes, brother-in-law to STHS’s favorite basketball son, Jerod Haase. Holmes is the third different coach in three years and he plans to give the girls stability at the top.

“I’m really excited about it,” Holmes said. “I’m looking forward to building the program over the next few years. It means a lot. I want the girls’ basketball program to be successful.”

Over the past decade, Holmes has been one of the area’s top recreational players. He honed his skills playing pickup ball with the Haase brothers, but it was former Tom Orlich assistant Larry Reilly who got Holmes interested in coaching.

“Larry called me one day and wanted to know if I’d come down to the gym,” said Holmes, who also coaches the eighth-grade girls’ and seventh-grade boys’ teams at South Tahoe Middle School. “I’ve worked with him a couple of years and he’s been a big influence on a lot of things I do today.”

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The players are adjusting to Holmes’ teachings and enjoying his new ideas.

“This year we’re a lot more serious,” Braun said. “Everything we’re learning is new, but it’s easy and a good building block.”

Braun is one of five returning varsity players who saw extensive action under former coach Mark Shehadi last year. Seniors Katelyn Pakes, Dana Jensen, Jessica Bettencourt and Courtney Blann give Holmes experience and athleticism.

“From top to bottom we’re pretty strong,” Holmes said. “They are a great group of girls. They are very athletic girls and very fast.

“Up here a lot of girls are not focused on one sport. They are playing volleyball and soccer, so they are in good shape.”

A year ago, South Tahoe was 6-18 overall, including 2-10 in Sierra Division play. Braun believes the key to the Vikings’ season is patience.

“Taking it slow and making sure we run our plays and play good defense,” she said.

South Tahoe was scheduled to open its season on Monday night at North Tahoe, but the game was postponed because of a snowstorm.

The Vikings will get another shot at their season opener tonight when they travel to Spanish Springs for a 7 o’clock tip-off.