Free throws bag Tigers’ win |

Free throws bag Tigers’ win

Matt O'Neill

Free throws are one of the most fundamental parts of basketball.

Tuesday night, the Douglas Tigers hit their free throws down the stretch to salt away a 57-51 win over the South Tahoe Vikings.

“This was exactly what I was expecting,” Tigers coach Keith Lewis said. “I knew it was going to come down to free throws.”

Douglas was leading 51-45 with 1 minute, 20 seconds left when South Tahoe senior Matt Connelly hit a 3-pointer to pull the Vikings within three.

South Tahoe then resorted to the fouling the Tigers to extend the game, but Douglas maintained the lead by hitting 8 of 8 from the charity stripe for the victory.

Both teams opened the game with a great deal of energy and emotion. Playing in front of a packed gym, both teams were vying for third place in the Sierra Division.

South Tahoe rode the emotion to a 30-26 halftime lead, outhustling the Tigers to loose balls and hitting key outside jumpers.

“I thought the kids played pretty hard,” Viking coach Derek Allister said. “In the first half we played very well, just a few mistakes here and there.”

Connelly, who led the Vikings with 20 points, connected on three 3s to keep the Vikings in the lead. But in the second half, a number of his long-range bombs found the rim instead of the bottom of the net.

“You live by the three and you die by the three,” Allister said. “In the first half we did a great job of mixing the jumpers with drives to the basket.”

Chris Ortiz and Clint Joaquin were able to penetrate the Tigers’ interior defense, opening up the outside for Connelly.

In the second half, the Vikings began to settle for shots beyond the arc as the Tigers began to pack in inside, not allowing Ortiz and Joaquin to drive.

“There was that stretch as the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth where we pulled the trigger a little to quickly from the outside,” Allister said.

The Tigers, on the other hand, continued to work their inside-out game with Seth Lee leading the way with 26 points, 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter from the free-throw line.

The win puts the Tigers in the driver’s seat for the second-place position and gives them their first win at Tahoe in league ever.

“That means a little bit,” Lewis said. “There is definitely a mystique in this gym.”

With Reno’s defeat of Carson, Douglas has a good shot at hosting a first-round playoff game, pending the outcomes of Friday’s games. South Tahoe, on the other hand, will need some help as Hug beat Wooster 64-61 Tuesday, leaving the Vikings on the outside looking in.

To keep their consecutive playoff berths alive, the Vikings will need to beat Carson and have Hug lose to Reno on Friday.

18-point deficit does in Vikings

For a half the South Tahoe Viking girls played the Douglas Tigers dead even. Unfortunately for Vikings it was the second half and South Tahoe was already down 18 as the Tigers defeated the Vikings 66-48.

Douglas went into the break up 34-16, and didn’t look back, despite the Vikings playing all out in the second half.

“We are playing pretty well right now,” Tiger coach Werner Christen said. “We’re finally getting healthy and it shows.”

The Vikings turned in a lackluster opening half and it cost them, even though South Tahoe had a great second half.

“This was the worst game we’ve played in five weeks,” Viking coach Tim Jaureguito said. “We didn’t play defense, didn’t pass the ball and didn’t shoot well.”

South Tahoe never quit. Late in the fourth quarter, down by 20 points, the Vikings continued their trademark-full-court in-your-face defense, but it was too little, too late.

The one shining spot for the Vikes was Amy Carter, who scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers.

“Amy had a very good game,” Jaureguito said. “She shot the ball very well tonight.”

The Tigers were paced by Lisa Doner’s 16 points.

Next up for the Vikings is a final game at Carson on Friday.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.