Vikings make first win monumental
They picked a fine time to win their first game.
The South Tahoe girls’ basketball team used a decisive third-quarter run to defeat Sparks 25-21 in the Vikings’ Mount Rose League opener on Saturday in South Lake Tahoe.
“It definitely feels good, especially with a new team and a new group of girls. We’ve gone a long way,” said STHS senior Mel Sabac.
The Vikings lost their previous nine games, playing many games against larger schools from Nevada and California.
South Tahoe put together a game-turning run in the third quarter as the Vikings cut down their turnovers against Sparks’ man and 1-3-1 zone defenses. Sabac delivered three assists in the period as South Tahoe outscored Sparks 9-1 to go ahead 20-13.
“It was just experience,” Sabac said. “From past games we’ve had countless turnovers. In practice we’ve learned to control the game. We don’t panic, and we’re getting that chemistry back.”
The Vikings led by as many as 11 points in the final period before Sparks battled back.
A three-pointer by Krystal Parker led a Sparks comeback. Two free throws by Christy Martinez whittled South Tahoe’s lead to 24-21 with a minute to go.
Sparks had a couple possessions to tie in the final 45 seconds, including an open look by Parker behind the three-point line.
But Sabac converted the first of two free throws with 14.8 seconds left to clinch the Vikings’ win — South Tahoe’s first in 10 games.
Sabac led the Vikings with eight points and Ellen Dupree contributed seven points and a number of rebounds.
Sparks led most of the first half, but neither team could gain any separation due to missed free throws and missed layups.
“We’re trying to not just get the ball and shoot it. We’re trying to run some offense,” said STHS coach Chris Holmes. “With no shot clock and we got time, then we can rest up and play better defense.”
Sparks received a break when Alex Reber, one of South Tahoe’s top scorers fouled out in the first half.
“I was so upset when Alex fouled out, but I’m so proud of the girls, especially those that are in their first year on varsity,” Sabac said. “They really stepped it up and really got us that win.”
The Vikings will travel to Dayton on Tuesday.
South Tahoe 25, Sparks 21
SPARkS — Parker 12, Diaz 2, Addington 1, Valdez 1, Martinez 5.
SOUTH TAHOE — Horn 2, Searight 4, Aquino 2, Sabac 8, Dupree 7, King 2.
Sparks 6 6 1 8 — 21
S. Tahoe 4 7 9 5 — 25