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Home makes noise in Shootout

By Steve Yingling

Tribune sports editor

Basketball titles aren’t won in July, but if the South Tahoe club team’s performance at the South Tahoe Shootout is any indication of what to expect in the winter, then good things are in store for the Vikings.

South Tahoe won three of seven Shootout games but was missing three of its top players in losses to Milpitas and Skyview on Sunday. The club was competitive with all of the tournament heavyweights and unveiled a 6-foot-8 center, Joel Keegan, who is considering transferring from Folsom to South Tahoe High for his senior year.

“He plays a lot on the block and is more polished than Curtis (Johnson) was at this stage,” said South Tahoe coach Derek Allister. “He makes a dramatic difference because everybody bumps down to their natural positions.

“But I’ve never been one to hang my hat on one guy. There are too many things that can go wrong. We’re a very solid team without him.”

Because Oakland arrived 25 minutes late for a 3 p.m. tipoff on Friday, South Tahoe started out by dismantling Woodbridge of Southern California. Next, South Tahoe came back from a late, five-point deficit to surprise Juan Diego, the defending state champion out of Salt Lake City. Jared Wood hit a trifecta to pull South Tahoe to within two points and then Vince Capellino drained a three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining to win it.

“That was a big, big win for us,” Allister said.

South Tahoe nearly pulled off the upset of the tournament when it had St. Mary’s of Stockton facing a seven-point deficit with 50 seconds remaining Saturday. But St. Mary’s battled back to win the game on a 10-foot jumper at the buzzer.

“We did everything wrong at the end and they did everything right,” Allister said.

The competition didn’t get any easier as South Tahoe played Highland, Utah, next. Allister considered Highland the best team at the tournament and had the same opinion after losing by 10 points.

“It was the only game that I felt maybe that team was a little better than us,” Allister said. “We didn’t shoot it very well. We were down by eight and had the ball with a minute to go and we just couldn’t get into it.”

South Tahoe bounced back from that tough defeat by drubbing Gonzalez out of Salinas by 30 points. Allister said Reid Cocking, Conor Freeman and Michael Anstett played well in the romp.

South Tahoe was minus Wood, Capellino and K.J. Allister in 12-point and 10-point defeats to Skyview and Milpitas, respectively, on Sunday. The three left early to attend an Adidas basketball camp in Los Angeles.

The team will participate in a camp next weekend at the University of California-San Diego before spending the remainder of the summer concentrating on individual workouts.

“You can’t keep them out of the gym,” Allister said. “We’ll continue to open the gym and work with them individually.”


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