Division title on the line for Vikings
Normally, the road to the Northern Nevada 4A Division II regular season boys basketball crown travels through the hardwood floors of South Tahoe High’s main gymnasium. This season the venue will be Reno’s Wooster High School, however, the site of tonight’s anticipated contest between the Vikings and the Colts.
“There’s no question it’s going to be tougher doing it on the road,” South Tahoe coach Tom Orlich said. “But it’s not where you play, it’s how you play. This is the type of game you usually have to win in February to get a championship.”
The Colts shocked South Tahoe on Jan. 15, topping the Vikings in a 69-67 thriller. The rare home loss temporarily dropped South Tahoe into second place in the Nevada 4A Division II standings, vaulting Wooster to the top spot. The Colts have slipped in ensuing games, falling to Carson and Fallon as their league totals retreated to 5-2.
Orlich said he expects an aggressive, physical game from Wooster, one that should feature all the emotional trappings of a postseason game.
“We’d certainly like to get a little redemption,” Vikings coach Tom Orlich said. “We know that we’re putting everything on the line here and we’d certainly like to pick up a win.”
South Tahoe enters today’s matchup with a 17-5 record and a 7-1 mark in Division II play. The Vikings control their own destiny and will win the division title with victories in their four remaining league contests. After squaring off with Wooster, South Tahoe meets Carson on Friday, travels to Reno on Feb. 9 and hosts Fallon Feb. 12 in the team’s final league game.
If the Colts can turn the tables on the Vikings yet again, they will likely capture the division title on the strength of head-to-head meetings against STHS.
The Vikings have struggled for consistency for most of the season. Some nights the defense is sterling but the offense gets sloppy or careless. Granted, the team continues to win, but it’s been several games since the Vikings have played a successful all-around game, Orlich said. “If we don’t play with a little more consistency on offense, it’s not going to happen (today),” said Orlich after a Jan. 26 win over Douglas.
Capturing the regular season division title gives the team the first seed in the four-team zone tournament. A team can qualify for the state tournament by winning its first game at the zone tourney.
“Division titles have always meant a lot to us,” said Orlich, who has eight division titles and two state championships on his 24-year coaching resume. “It’s a tradition we have here.”
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