Hoopla builds for Galena-STHS tilt
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of preview stories leading up to Saturday’s South Tahoe-Galena boys basketball game in South Lake Tahoe.
The most-anticipated game since 1992.
That’s how one longtime area high school basketball fan described the upcoming South Tahoe-Galena contest.
“It was filled to the rafters,” said Dan Wilvers, who’s a fixture courtside with many loyal Viking fans. “Up until that game, no one knew how good Tahoe was. But we quickly found out.”
In 1992, a South Tahoe team, ranked No. 1 in Northern California, with names such as Jerod Haase and Brian Bruso, pounded Lynwood of Compton, 90-60, then the eighth-ranked team on the West Coast. Tahoe went on to win the school’s second-ever state title and earn a national ranking.
Now, it’s hard to single out one Tahoe player. Alan Case, Casey Dowling, Aaron Buckman and Co. The names may be different, but the excitement remains constant.
Not since Lynwood has hype surrounding a home game at South Tahoe been so intense, a contest so anticipated.
“I’m hoping everyone gets there early. I don’t think you’ll be able to walk in at 6:15 and get a good seat,” said Wilvers of the 7 p.m. start.
So while it’s apparent that the crowd will be rocking, what’s on the line for the participants?
“It’s about bragging rights,” said Tahoe coach Tom Orlich, who wouldn’t say more until after Tahoe’s Tuesday contest with Douglas.
Galena coach Tom Maurer was more forthcoming with his initial thoughts.
“South Tahoe has proved they’re a good team and the respect is there. But I want our just dues, too. We’ve gone out and won some good games on the road and right now we’re undefeated in Northern Nevada,” said Maurer after last Friday’s 82-44 thrashing of Sparks. “All summer we’ve looked forward to South Tahoe and playing up there. I like to play against great teams.”
The outcome of the game doesn’t figure in to the teams’ respective league standings, as each plays in a different Northern Nevada 4A division. But pending the outcome of the week’s contests – Galena plays Reed and Elko while Tahoe takes on the Tigers – it’s possible that both teams could come into Saturday with perfect league records.
Each team has designs on undefeated league marks. Both know that alone would be an accomplishment unto itself and the chance to meet each other in the zone or state playoffs is nearly certain.
But don’t think for a minute that the final score on Saturday night won’t matter.
“It’s a battle to see who is No. 1. It’s going to be hectic. We want nothing more than to win it,” said Galena’s 6-7 center Matt Seibrandt, who will attend UNLV next fall. “Playing South Tahoe is the game. They have a tradition and we’re building a tradition. It’s going to be a clash of the titans. It’s going to be physical, emotional – it’s going to be awesome. It’ll be the greatest game of the season.”
Added junior point guard Lance Buoncristiani, who guided the Grizzlies to the state final last year, “We’d like to consider ourselves the best in the state. But there’s a lot of big obstacles out there and South Tahoe is one of them.”
And, as if Maurer’s Grizzlies needed additional motivation, the team has not beaten South Tahoe at the lake in the program’s six years.
“Beating them in Tahoe is the only thing we haven’t done. We’ve won zone, appeared in state and beaten every team home and away. Realistically, (we want) to beat the myth. It doesn’t fear me and I hope it doesn’t fear my players. I respect Tom and I respect his players, but we’re going up there to win.”
Added senior Galena guard Doug Cordova, “We’ll get our respect if we beat South Tahoe. That’s judgment, the day we’re waiting for. That’s what we work hard for everyday and I bet that’s what they work hard for.”
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe High School is enjoying one of its best baseball seasons in the program’s history.