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Basketball playoffs a mess to sort out

By Steve Yingling

Tribune sports editor

Confusion is the key word in describing the postseason possibilities for the South Tahoe High basketball teams going into the final night of the season.



The South Tahoe boys’ squad is fighting for fourth place in the Sierra Division. The Vikings (5-8) must win at North Valleys (4-8) on Friday, while Damonte Ranch (6-7) needs to lose its final game at home against regional qualifier Hug.

If the teams do wind up tied, things get muddled.



The Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association’s first tiebreaker is head-to-head outcomes. Since each team won at home, a second tiebreaker is necessary.

At that point, it is unclear whether the NIAA will implement a one-game playoff between the teams. NIAA assistant director Donnie Nelson indicated on Thursday night that the one-game playoff remains a proposal and will be discussed by a coaches advisory committee in the spring.

“You don’t not automatically have a playoff for fourth place just because the teams split,” Nelson said.

Hence, part B of the tiebreaker rules would apply. Under that scenario, Damonte and South Tahoe would be awarded a point for each win by the schools they defeated in division play. In that case, Damonte would emerge as the fourth seed by virtue of its upset victory over second-place Douglas.

“Whomever beat a team higher in the standings will in most likelihood get the spot,” Nelson said.

North Valleys could also tie Damonte for fourth place, but the Mustangs would win that tiebreaker as well under plan B.

The South Tahoe girls (6-7) could place anywhere from third to fifth. With a win at North Valleys on Friday, the Vikings would lock up the Sierra Division’s third seed and qualify for the postseason for the first time since 1996.

South Tahoe could lose and still finish fourth – but only if Damonte (5-8) defeats Hug (5-8) at home on Friday. The Vikings get the nod in a tie with Damonte because they have defeated the Mustangs twice.

However, if the Vikings drop into a fourth-place tie with Hug at 6-8, the Hawks would get the final playoff berth, according to plan B, which is based on the point system. Hug’s victory over North Valleys would be the decisive blow in that scenario.

“We know what we have to do. Basically we have to consider this a playoff game,” said STHS coach Chris Holmes. “If you don’t win, you’re done. We don’t want to count on Damonte beating Hug. We want to win our game to get in there.”

The Whittell High girls’ basketball team has qualified for the Northern 2A tournament in Winnemucca, based on information released by the NIAA’s Web site. The Warriors will play Hawthorne on Feb. 14 in a battle of the fourth and fifth seeds. The teams will determine their seeding on Saturday when they play in Hawthorne.

Even though the Whittell boys didn’t earn their first division victory until Tuesday at North Tahoe, the Warriors still have a remote chance of making the six-team regional tournament. Whittell (1-11) must beat Rite of Passage at home on Friday, then win at Hawthorne (3-9) on Saturday. In addition, North Tahoe (2-10) must topple Hawthorne on Friday and then lose to ROP on Saturday. The three teams would then be tied, and the tie would be broken by margin of victory in games between the schools.


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