Vikings basketball sweeps Wolverines, claims league title
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The South Tahoe boys’ basketball team is regular season league champions.
The Vikings staved off a Truckee comeback on Friday night to turn the Wolverines back on their senior night and claim a 53-41 victory.
“I have the utmost respect for that senior-dominated team,” said South Tahoe Head Coach Tom Maurer. “They just are a very good team. I felt like we did a great job defending them.”
Both teams struggled to get anything going offensively in the first quarter. South Tahoe entered the second frame with an 8-6 advantage and fouls on both sides led to each team being in the bonus before the midway point of the second quarter.
Truckee senior Ethan Ariza tied the game at 11-11 with a 3-pointer. From that point, the Vikings caught fire, and at one point drained back-to-back-to-back shots from downtown on the way to closing the half on an 18-2 run.
The Wolverines responded with an 8-1 run of their own to open the second half. The Vikings wouldn’t find their first field goal until senior Christopher Haven knocked in a shot midway through the quarter. Truckee pressed the action defensively, causing several South Tahoe turnovers as the team battled back to pull within a field goal. The Wolverines would later lose one of their top players, junior Luke Cruz, who fouled out with roughly a minute left in the third quarter.
“They rattled us and then they started hitting shots and playing harder than us,” said Maurer. “The fourth quarter, I wanted to get the tempo back to our side. I wanted to get the guys that can score, the ball.”
Each squad was in the bonus early on the fourth quarter. Truckee pulled within two points of tying the game, but junior Phil Adina extended the lead back to seven with a 3-pointer. Truckee would again cut the lead to a field goal, but South Tahoe was steady at the free-throw line down the stretch, sinking nine of 14 shots. Adina would put the game out of reach with about 90 seconds remaining, scoring on a drive to the basket to give South Tahoe an eight-point lead.
“When we switched to man, we stopped the 3-point shooting,” said Maurer. “We made some adjustments and I thought my players did a good job at the end finishing it at the free-throw line.”
Adina led the team with 14 points. Senior Joel Gomez had nine points. Haven and Andre Smith each scored seven points.
The win gives South Tahoe a season sweep of Truckee. South Tahoe went on to 52-38 win at home against Sparks on Saturday. The Vikings have wrapped up the Northern – West League regular season title, finishing with an 8-2 league record.
The Vikings haven’t missed the playoffs since the 2015 season and will receive a first-round bye as the West League champions. South Tahoe will open the postseason on Friday at 8 p.m. at North Valleys High School. The winner will play for the league championship on Saturday, and will also earn a berth into the state championship tournament at Lawlor Event Center in Reno on Friday, Feb. 24.
Incline enters postseason as No. 2 seed
In Class 2A, Incline wrapped up its regular season last weekend, winning a pair of games to finish with a 13-1 league record.
The Highlanders hosted Yerington on Friday and took a 67-48 win. Sophomore Tommy Williams led the team with 25 points, six rebounds, four assists, a block and 10 steals. Senior Luc Casini added 11 points and a pair of blocks. Sophomore Colin Combs scored nine points. Senior James Demarais pulled down six rebounds. Senior Vaughn Anderson finished with a team-high six assists.
Incline then traveled to Silver Stage on Saturday and cruised to a 56-21 victory. Williams finished with 22 points, six assists, and seven steals. Demarais scored 19 points and had six steals. Combs and junior Cameron Brodel each had six rebounds.
Incline finishes the regular season on a six-game winning streak and will the No. 2 seed going into the playoffs. The Highlanders will receive a first-round bye and will await the winners of No. 3 seed North Tahoe and No.6 seed Yerington. The Class 2A Northern League semifinals will be at Incline High School at 8 p.m. The winner will play for the league title on Saturday, and will earn a berth into the Class 2A state tournament in Las Vegas.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of the Tribune.
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