Vikings chop down Greenwave
Tribune News Service
FALLON – A physical presence and experience gave the South Tahoe boys basketball team the edge it needed.
The Vikings pushed around the Fallon Greenwave and slipped away with a 53-49 3A nonleague win on Tuesday. South Tahoe was led by the inside presence of Jacob Stowell and Cale Backinger, who combined for 30 points.
The duo muscled their way through the smaller and younger Greenwave frontline grabbing rebounds and creating second-chance points. Stowell finished with a game-high 18 points, while Backinger added 12.
“A lot of it was being in the right place at the right time,” Stowell said. “We knew they were going to run a 1-3-1 press and we ate that up.”
South Tahoe had four players score in double-digits, while the Wave had two. Travis Marker led Fallon with 15 points and Jahn Galera added 10.
“No matter whose got what record, most of these are going to be like this,” South Tahoe coach Chris Proctor said. “I couldn’t have more happy about our first quarter.”
Fallon’s youth and inexperience showed in the final minutes of the game as the Wave turned the ball over, committed offensive fouls and failed to convert short jump shots to close to the gap.
South Tahoe’s John Cefalu hit consecutive shots including a 3, to put the Vikings up 53-46 with about 2 minutes left in the game. Fallon’s Josh Morrison connected on two free throws to cut the lead, but a series of miscues down the stretch prevented Fallon from a possible win.
Freshman LaDamien Crawley bobbled a pass through his legs for a turnover and then was called for charging on the Wave’s next possession. However, South Tahoe couldn’t take advantage but Fallon’s offense couldn’t develop any clean shots.
“We struggled with their half-court trap,” Fallon coach Chip Rutledge said. “We clawed back. When you have that many steals, you have to capitalize on that and we didn’t. We’re a young team and growing.”
South Tahoe, led by five points from Stowell, jumped out to a 19-15 lead after the first quarter. However, the Vikings could only muster two points in the second period, struggling against Fallon’s pressure defense.
The Wave took their first lead of the game, 22-21, in the second quarter on a short jumper by Galera. But four consecutive missed free throws by Fallon prevented the Wave from creating some distance going into halftime.
“South Tahoe’s a really good team,” Rutledge said. “They’re like us. They’ve played some really tough tournaments and their record looks like garbage, like ours, but they’ve played some great teams and they are no slouch.”
Although the Vikings couldn’t find the hoop in the second quarter, South Tahoe raced past Fallon in the third outscoring the Wave 17-8 to take a 38-30 lead. Stowell connected on two straight shots for a 32-28 lead and Cefalu connected on a wild, midair shot to push the margin to six.
Cefalu wasn’t done as he scored the next four points before Crawley hit a short jumper to put the Wave within eight.
“The boys just started to execute,” Proctor said of his team’s second half performance. “We told them we wanted them to drive and dish. That’s where Jacob Stowell got those points.”
South Tahoe opens Mount Rose league play on Friday at Sparks and faces Fernley at home on Saturday in a nonleague matchup. Fallon heads east to face Spring Creek on Friday and Elko on Saturday.
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