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Boys playoff hoops swept away by Hawks

Darin Olde, Tribune staff report

Playoff hopes were riding high for the South Tahoe varsity boys basketball team after defeating playoff-bound Reno at home Friday, but those hopes were grounded Saturday after a 67-47 loss to Hug High’s Hawks.

The Vikings had to win both games last weekend and hope for a division outcome that would place it fourth in the Sierra Division in order to secure playoff footing.

But that footing was nowhere to be found.

An emotional 67-46 win Friday against Reno (6-6, 15-12), marking the Vikings’ last home game of the regular season, made for a slow start in a big game against Hug (9-3, 21-6), the following night, STHS coach Derek Allister said. The emotion the Vikings had the night before was what they needed in the second quarter against Hug as the Hawks caught the Vikings on their heels from the beginning.

Against Reno on Friday night, the Vikings came out with a strong lead from the initial tip.

In his first possession, Matt Mora drove to the hoop for an initial strike and never looked back. By the end of the first half the Vikings led Reno 17-5, Allister said.

In the second half the Vikings allowed only 12 points and answered with 25 of their own, going into the locker room with a 42-17 lead.

“Reno was never in the game,” Allister said. “They never made a run at us.”

On Saturday night the score was eerily familiar, except this time the Vikings were at the trailing end.

Hug outscored STHS by only four points in the first quarter, but by the end of the half the Hawks lead 47-25.

“They outscored us 29 to 11 in the second quarter,” Allister said, noting that the Hawks sank a 3-pointer right before the half.

For the first time this year, each of the Vikings were held to single digits.

Curtis Johnson scored nine points, recovered 13 rebounds and blocked five shots. But by the end of the first quarter he had three fouls. Allister said he pulled the center to keep him from fouling out. By the time he put him back in, the margin was too large and the Vikings were unable to make a comeback.

“I think we cut it down to 14,” Allister said, but by then the Hawks’ lead was out of reach.

The Vikings finished the season 4-8 in division and 11-15 overall. Seven seniors will graduate this year, three starters.

But Allister is optimistic about the future.

“We have a solid core of juniors … and a good core of freshman,” he said.

The team’s starting point guard and center will return next year.

The team will take two weeks off, then join volunteer weight programs as they prepare for summer play.

“I’m excited about summer play,” Allister said. “We had no commitment last year. This year we do.”

In summing up the season, Allister said the kids did a great job this year.

“We had tremendous growth this year. They truly became a team, which is a tremendous success story.”


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