Tough start for Vikings |

Tough start for Vikings

Jeremy Evans

The South Tahoe boys’ basketball team had visions of going undefeated at home this season. One game into the 2005-06 campaign, the Vikings must find another goal.

Douglas Williams scored a game-high 16 points and Spanish Springs used 20 South Tahoe turnovers to its advantage in a 50-43 nonleague win Tuesday at South Tahoe High.

“It was a struggle,” said STHS coach Derek Allister. “I take responsibility for this. Maybe I didn’t prepare them and get them in the right frame of mind. For whatever reason, we just didn’t have it. We didn’t handle the ball very well.”

While the negatives were obvious, the Vikings stayed in the game until the end. Conor Freeman’s 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining made it 47-43. But another Viking turnover down the stretch and the Cougars’ ability to knock down free throws sealed the victory.

“We’ve played in a lot of close games the past two years,” said Spanish Springs’ coach Jerry Hogan, whose team went 6-17 last season. “Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of a lot of those games. South Tahoe has a lot of good shooters and we couldn’t leave them open.”

South Tahoe shot only 30 percent from the field (13 of 42) and hit just 25 percent of its 3-pointers (4 of 16). Despite their eight turnovers in the first quarter, the Vikings still only trailed 11-8 going into the second. However, another problem was developing for South Tahoe.

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Jared Wood, the Vikings’ leading scorer from a year ago, was in serious foul trouble. He missed most of the second quarter with three fouls and picked up his fourth foul 30 seconds into the third. Like Wood, Freeman, the Vikings’ next best scoring threat, picked up his fourth foul in the third and was also sent to the bench.

“Obviously with Jared and Conor in foul trouble, that really hurt us,” Allister said. “We just couldn’t get into any rhythm out there. There was no flow.”

A back-and-forth first half that saw seven lead changes and three ties eventually gave way to Spanish Springs (1-0) taking control for good. Trailing 21-19 at the break, South Tahoe’s Reid Cocking scored all seven of his points in the first two minutes of the second half to give the Vikings their final lead.

Cocking’s two free throws at the 6:03 mark put South Tahoe up 26-23, but Williams made two free throws later in the quarter to give the Cougars the lead for good. Wood and Freeman returned in the fourth quarter, but Spanish Springs extended its lead.

Wood finished with a team-high 13 points for the Vikings and Freeman added 10 points. Cocking, K.J. Allister and Michael Anstett all finished with seven points apiece.

“Even though we played poorly, that doesn’t diminish what I think about this basketball team,” coach Allister said. “We have a good team. We just didn’t show it tonight.”

South Tahoe (0-1) opens the Viking Classic against Buhach Colony of Modesto on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at STHS.