Vikings basketball claims league title, No. 2 seed; Playoffs begin Friday |

Vikings basketball claims league title, No. 2 seed; Playoffs begin Friday

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Tahoe Vikings boys’ varsity basketball team finished with three straight league wins to conclude an 8-2 season and claim the West League title.  

The Vikings finished with an overall record of 14-10 with a majority of those losses coming against teams from higher divisions or the cross league opponents from the east. Those three straight wins came over Wooster 48-45, Truckee 53-41 and Sparks 52-38. The win over arch-rival Truckee was especially pleasing to the seniors as it came on the road and gave the Division 3 “lake” championship to South Tahoe.  

Coach Tom Maurer noted how in the Sparks game, senior night, every player contributed in the scoring column.  

Junior Phil Adina was the leading scorer in each of those wins as he finished strong averaging double figures over the final weeks of the season. Strong play was also present from starters Chris Haven, Levi Hernandez, Joel Gomez and Ronan Fisher with Evan Orr and Andre Smith off the bench.  

Up from the JV for those wins were sophomores Ryder Preston and Ryder Tennaci. 

Coach Maurer was quick to point out how Haven and Orr dominated the inside game and Adina and Gomez controlled the tempo from the point.  

“It has taken some time to jell as a team but I am so proud of these guys for hanging together as they have even with the absence of two starters (Nico Wagner and Jay Butterfass) out with injuries the past few weeks,” Maurer said. “The effort has been tremendous and the results evident as these guys just refused to lose.”

The Vikings are set to open postseason at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at North Valley High School as the No. 2 seed and will face the winner of the Elko-Spring Creek matchup from Thursday night.  

The Vikings lost to Elko and beat Spring Creek earlier in the season.  

Looking ahead to the playoffs, Maurer said, “We have to make some small adjustments for the regionals but practices have been good and the attitudes positive. The players are relaxed and look forward to these final challenges.”

JV Boy’s undefeated league champions

The junior varsity boys finished the season on a 13-game winning streak to claim the league title with a 10-0 league record and was 16-7 overall.  

Coach Phil Bryant wasn’t surprised by the finish as he stated, “The combination of strong play from the six freshmen on the team along with the experience of the six sophomores providing leadership was a big key in our success. Sophomore captains Ryder Tennaci and Ryder Preston set the example daily with their energy and effort and the freshmen picked up on that all season.”

The final wins to clinch the title were over Wooster 69-60, Truckee 47-46 and Sparks 51-18.  “The Truckee win was a come from behind struggle with foul trouble for us and what may have been the biggest single play of the season for us as well. In the closing 8 seconds of the game we were down 1 and Truckee had the ball. Sophomore Payton King got a big steal and somehow got the ball to Esha Davis for the basket and the win. That preserved the streak and the title with just one game left on the schedule.”

In recapping the season leaders, Tennaci led in scoring and rebounding from start to finish followed by Davis, Preston and Parker Bryant, who was our leading three point shooter with 35 followed by Davis with 24. Marcus Haven was second in rebounding and Adrian Smith was a dominating defender.  

“The real key to our success was each player accepting their role on the team which is not always easy,” Bryant said. “Sophomores Mars Lopez, Vinny Gangitano, Gabe Diaz, Kai McClain, Payton King and freshman Logan Kelso were there everyday and will be solid varsity players as they move up over the next couple of years.”

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