Injured McCollum still a part of Vikings |

Injured McCollum still a part of Vikings

David Gignilliat

Tribune Staff Writer

South Tahoe’s Travis McCollum may be on the bottom of coach Tom Orlich’s depth chart, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a vital part of the 1998-99 Division II regular-season champions.

McCollum, a 6-foot-4 forward for the Vikings, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament while competing in a high school playoff soccer game in November. The injury halted what might have been a promising hoops season for the junior and has kept him out of STHS basketball games this season.

Well, … almost.

McCollum, who attends every South Tahoe practice and dresses for every Viking game, found his way out onto the court in a Feb. 5 contest against Carson. Orlich inserted the 190-pound playmaker into the lineup for a pair of technical free throws during the late stages of a South Tahoe win.

Naturally, McCollum sank both free throws.

“That was real special because coach told me he was going to try to get me in the game at some point of the season, and he did,” McCollum said.

McCollum misses being out of the lineup, especially during exciting playoff wins like the Vikings’ 90-54 win over Elko Wednesday night. In that same game, a faint “We Want Travis” chant could be heard from the South Tahoe student section late in the final quarter.

“It’s hard not being out there, but I’ve been trying to do anything that I can to help the team,” said McCollum, who started at forward for the Vikes last season. “I wish I was playing in the games, but that’s all right.”

In addition to his cheerleading role, McCollum does a little coaching on the side.

“If I see things happen during the game, I’ll go up to coach (Orlich) and tell him what I think,” said McCollum, who often gives pointers and makes observations for fellow big men Billy Doughty and Bobby Larmore. “He’ll decide whether it’s a good idea or not. But he always likes me saying what I see.”

When It Rains It Pours …:

The object of a basketball game is to score more points than the other team. South Tahoe has been doing that all season en route to their 22-5 record, but recently not to coach Tom Orlich’s liking.

Orlich had complained about the scoring output from his normally explosive team. The Vikings had to rally from a 15-point deficit to stamp out a 64-54 victory at Reno on Feb. 10. It didn’t get any better for the team against Fallon in its regular season finale: South Tahoe eked out a 53-51 overtime win against the Greenwave, a team which didn’t even qualify for zone tournament play.

The tide finally tuned for the Vikings against Elko on Wednesday night as STHS flirted with the century mark, and had 44 points already to their credit by halftime.

“This was an exceptional game we played tonight,” Orlich said after the win. “It was the best (game for this team) in a while. We beat a real good team, and we beat ’em up good.”

Though the team’s offense had seemed disjointed and sloppy in prior outings, it all seemed to coalesce for the team against the Indians.

“I think it was basically a team effort that came together tonight,” guard Matt Williams said. “Everybody got into it on offense, and I think the (shooting) is contagious after a while.”

Halftime Honorees:

A trio of present and past South Tahoe student-athletes were honored for their efforts at halftime ceremony during Wednesday’s South Tahoe-Elko playoff matchup.

The honorees included Alex Romagnolo, the 1998 boys soccer conference defensive player of the year; Adrian Hankoff, girls volleyball conference player of the year; and Faye Clapp, the 1997 girls soccer offensive player of the year.

“I think it’s really neat, because they’ve always done the basketball conference players of the year and now the school is starting to do everyone,” said Romagnolo, who is considering USC, Berkeley and St. Mary’s for college options.” I think that’s what they should do. Now everybody’s picture can go up there.”

Hankoff, a two-time POY in Division II, tended to agree.

“It’s good because it was always the basketball team up there and now they’re doing other sports,” she said.

The awards took the form of plaques, with pictures of each of the athletes in action mounted on the wood frame.

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