Allister calls up freshman, JV players for weekend games- Eight Vikings disciplined in losses to Colts, Huskies
Ready or not, South Tahoe High boys basketball coach Derek Allister took a look at the future of his team in Sierra Division games Friday and Saturday.
Eight Viking varsity players were suspended for the games because of “disciplinary reasons.”
Consequently, Allister brought up three freshmen and three junior varsity players for the Vikings’ games against Wooster and Reno.
“I like the energy the younger players brought to the game,” Allister said. “It’s a little tough having young kids step up to the varsity level and score points. No coach in America wouldn’t have been proud of these kids on Friday night. I asked them to play defense and dive on the floor, and they did.”
The experience also taught Allister to consider freshman and sophomore players for varsity more in the future.
“I thought because they were so little and so weak they wouldn’t be ready for varsity, but if they can play, maybe they have to play. It’s always better to have better basketball players out there than lesser players.”
The eight varsity regulars are expected to return for Tuesday’s home game against Hug.
“When you put on a South Tahoe uniform, you have to act a certain way. If you don’t, you’re not going to put it on, especially when they’re so nice,” said Allister, referring to the team’s new uniforms.
Despite their shortcomings, the Vikings nearly stole a victory from Wooster on Friday night, losing 64-62 in South Lake Tahoe.
Matt Mora nearly capped a brilliant 39-point performance with a game-winning 3-pointer at the final buzzer. But Mora’s 20-foot attempt fell just short and new varsity player Danny Tillis’ follow-up basket was disallowed because it came after time had expired.
“When we were going down the stretch, (freshman) Mike Van Gordon and Tillis were on the floor and they did very well.”
The final play was set up by a Colt miss at the foul line. Rebounding magnet Curtis Johnson snared the board and hit Mora with a long pass. Mora had time to juke his defender and get a clean look at a 3-pointer.
Mora fell eight points shy of Jerod Haase’s single-game mark of 47.
“He’s becoming a legitimate scorer,” Allister said. “He’s getting to the free-throw line more. Earlier in the year, he was trying to rely on his jump shot, but now he’s penetrating.”
Johnson finished with 10 points and double figures on the boards.
Mora, however, wasn’t the game’s high scorer as Wooster’s Julian Hatcher lit up the Vikings for 42 points.
“He’s going to be playing somewhere,” Allister said. “We went to a diamond-and-one (defense) for a large part of the game, and he still was scoring anytime we gave him a look.”
The Vikings caught a break for their trip to Reno on Saturday when 6-foot-11 Huskies center David Padgett injured his knee in a loss to Carson on Friday night. However, the Huskies regrouped for a 70-50 triumph.
“We left a lot of our emotion and energy on the floor Friday night,” Allister said. “We tried, but we just didn’t have the pop in the engine that we needed.
“Reno was coming off getting pounded pretty good by Carson and losing David, so I think they were playing with a tremendous amount of passion.”
The Vikings (1-4 in division and 7-12 overall) trailed 37-29 at halftime and reduced Reno’s lead to two early in the second half but couldn’t make a run at the Huskies in the fourth period.
Johnson led the Vikings with 21 points and three blocks. Although rebound totals weren’t available, Johnson once again was in double figures, according to Allister.
Mora scored 19 points, including 9 of 9 at the charity stripe, running his streak of free throws to 29.