Vikings plan to create tempo to their liking |

Vikings plan to create tempo to their liking

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Nevada high school basketball has yet to implement a shot clock, but South Tahoe High likely won’t need one for the upcoming season based on its preferred style of play.

The Vikings intend to pick up the pace in 2009-10 to take advantage of their team speed and quickness.

“We really do have five or six guys who have the conditioning and the skill level to press full court all of the time,” said third-year Vikings’ coach Chris Proctor, whose team opens the season Dec. 1 at Hug. “To really put pressure on teams and really try to generate turnovers, I feel like, for us, it’s going to be about the number of possessions we get a game.”

With no beefy post players and limited size, South Tahoe High’s strategy for the season is no secret: They want to make their presence felt for 84 feet. To create the pace to their liking, the Vikings will pick up opponents defensively in the backcourt and not hesitate to go to a capable bench.

“We have a lot of speed this year. We can press everybody and hopefully that will turn into some offense,” Braun said.

The returning players are excited to turn up the game speed a notch.

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“I hate moving slow and setting up,” said Eidam, a third-year varsity member. “In past years, we haven’t been a fast-moving team. This year, we have a lot of speed.”

Even South Tahoe’s other inside players – Garrett Tinlin, Wade Norberg, Peter Pielaet-Strayer and Blair Berry – can get up and down the court in a hurry.

Proctor believes he has the bench to push the pace of each game. Reserves Norberg, Berry, Kory DiGrande and Griffen Boles are all juniors who are comfortable playing an up-tempo style. Going into the second week of practice, Proctor’s varsity squad contained only nine players, while six sophomores and juniors were contending for the remaining three reserve positions.

“One through nine we are more talented than we’ve ever been one through nine, by far,” Proctor said. “These nine guys that I kept should be getting significant playing time. There’s not one guy there who I think has to develop or earn anything. They are all going to contribute. That’s exciting to me because I’ve never really had that.”

Conditioning is part of any basketball coach’s preseason practice routine, but Proctor has focused on it more on one side of the court.

“Our biggest component has been to work on conditioning, and conditioning in a little different way: not so much running up and down the court but defensive lane slides and running cross court,” he said. “I want them to use their power and speed when they need to use it, and not just run up and down the court crazily.”

At 6-foot-3 and stocky, Pielaet-Strayer is the Vikings’ most natural post player, even though he is comfortable playing on the perimeter, too. He received significant varsity playing time as a sophomore last year and has the team’s most visible gym rat in the preseason, according to Proctor.

“He’s really been working on his post moves,” Proctor said. “He’s got the body and build to be pretty sound, and he uses his body pretty well. We expect him to develop into a pretty good post player.”

Varsity football players Eidam and Tinlin will complement Pielaet-Strayer inside with their aggressiveness and athletic ability.

Proctor is counting on Eidam and Tinlin to carry over their outstanding football seasons to the hardwood.

“When the chips are down, they are the type of players who are gonna have to step up and show guys how it’s gonna get done,” Proctor said. “I really think the dedication to their football season has matured them a lot. It’s made them understand that they have to dedicate themselves for the full season. I expect them both to step up and really get guys dialed in.”

Junior Wade Norberg, at 6-6, is the Vikings’ tallest player and will also figure into Proctor’s low-post rotation.

South Tahoe lost an even bigger post presence to another school in the fall. Bryce Hallam, a 6-7 sophomore, transferred to Bishop Manogue after starring for the Vikings’ junior varsity a year ago.

“I think I’d be lying to you if I wasn’t surprised with Bryce going to Manogue,” Proctor said. “We had a great summer, and he was going to be a big part of our plan.

“I think the other schools have a lot to offer, but I still think Tahoe has a lot to offer, too.”

Triggering the offense and driving the tempo will be the Vikings’ experienced backcourt of Braun and Brubaker. Both players logged plenty of minutes of juniors and are well aware of the pressure the larger Northern 4A programs will bring.

“Definitely ballhandling (will be a key),” Eidam said. “I know Ricky and McQuade will take care of it very well this year. We are just gonna have to play harder than (other teams) will. We’ve seen some other basketball games that’s it’s not about size, it’s about how hard you play. We have a group of guys who are willing to play hard.”

With Bishop Manogue, Carson and Douglas having established and solidified their programs in recent years, the fourth regional playoff berth from the Sierra Division has come down to a five-school battle. South Tahoe thinks it can contend with Galena, Damonte Ranch, Wooster and Fallon for that last playoff spot.

“We just have to play hard. I think that we’re going to surprise a lot of teams this year and everything,” Braun said. “I don’t think they are looking at us like we’re anything good or anything, so we’re going to be a surprise.”

Added Brubaker, “Making playoffs is my biggest goal this year. We definitely have the people to do it this year, and we’ve been working hard and hopefully it should pay off.”

Tinlin believes the players’ effort in the offseason and their willingness to give their all on the floor will make a difference by season’s end.

“I feel we can be in contention. It’s going to take hard work and defense,” Tinlin said. “We really have been pushing it all throughout summer, practicing and playing in two tournaments. We’ve really been trying to get it back on top.”

Notes: The Vikings were originally supposed to open the season Saturday at Sparks, but three players weren’t available for the game because of the holiday weekend, and Proctor elected to cancel … Most of South Tahoe’s games will be broadcast on KTHO (590 AM) … South Tahoe plays Soquel at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 in the opening round of the Viking Classic … The Vikings upgraded their gym in the offseason with new backboards and rims, which were funded by community members. The $2,500 project was not frivolous since some of the rims and backboards were last several decades, according to Proctor.

“In this economy I was so impressed with (our community),” Proctor said.

Vikings’ 2009-10 schedule

Date Opponent Time

Dec. 1 At Hug 7 p.m

Dec. 3-5 Viking Classic TBA

Dec. 8 INCLINE 6 p.m.

Dec. 10 N. VALLEYS 7 p.m.

Dec. 15 CARSON 7 p.m.

Dec. 17 WOOSTER 7 p.m.

Dec. 28-31 San Pedro Invit. TBA

Jan. 5 At Manogue 7 p.m.

Jan. 8 At Galena 7 p.m.

Jan. 12 At Fallon 7 p.m.

Jan. 15 DOUGLAS 7 p.m.

Jan. 22 DAMONTE 7 p.m.

Jan. 23 At Carson 5 p.m.

Jan. 26 At Wooster 7 p.m.

Jan. 29 MANOGUE 7 p.m.

Feb. 2 GALENA 7 p.m.

Feb. 5 FALLON 7 p.m.

Feb. 9 At Douglas 7 p.m.

Feb. 12 At Damonte 7 p.m.

Note: Home games are in ALL CAPS.