South Tahoe High makes it to finals in San Pedro Pirate Shootout
Special to the Tribune
The South Tahoe High School boys varsity basketball team spent the holiday break between Christmas and New Year’s Eve competing at the San Pedro Pirate Shootout for the ninth consecutive year in southern California.
The San Pedro Pirate Shoot Out attracts very competitive teams in the Long Beach area, and South Tahoe High School has struggled against these quality teams in years past, posting only two wins in eight games the last two years.
However, the Vikings are off to a great start this year, rolling into the Pirate Shootout on a five-game winning streak. STHS started the tournament against Legacy High School and cruised to an easy victory, 76-56, with four Vikings scoring in double figures (Harry Moses-Chakmakis 14 points, Noah Jackson 14 points, Tommy Cefalu 15 points and McCallan Castles 14 points) and the whole bench contributing to the lopsided win.
Next up in the championship bracket was the host school, San Pedro High School. It was clear by the hostile capacity crowd that the host school was expected to win and win big. At the end of the first quarter, the Vikings lead 18-16 over San Pedro but picked up the pace in the second quarter, out-scoring San Pedro 17 to 7, led by Moses-Chakmakis and Castles, to pull away from the Pirates. South Tahoe was never threatened again, winning 68-53.
Three Vikings posted double digit scoring (Moses-Chakmakis 19 points, Jackson 16 points and Castles 22 points). As you may have seen on Twitter, Jackson’s alley-oop pass to Castles for the dunk near the end of the game was the play of the tournament and the home crowd went wild.
On the third consecutive night, South Tahoe played a tough private school, Mary Star of the Sea High School, who on paper should have had no trouble with the Vikings to advance to the championship finals game the next night.
STHS — brimming with confidence — had other plans. At halftime, the Vikings lead 30-24 and came out in the third quarter on fire, out-scoring Mary Star of the Sea 26-13. South Tahoe went on to win 71-60 with a complete team effort and swarming defense. Moses-Chakmakis and Jackson led the team with 18 points each and Castles had 17 points.
Off to the finals, South Tahoe High School was matched up with Peninsula High School.
It may have been the long week of competition or the lag from traveling and staying in a hotel, but South Tahoe did not show up to the championship game firing on all cylinders. From the tip-off to the end of the game, the Vikings lacked that killer instinct they had in the first three games, missing most of their first quarter shots from the guard position. The only offense they generated was from Castles, a junior.
Peninsula, on the other hand, started hot and rarely missed from anywhere on the floor. With a lineup averaging 6 feet 4 inches tall and very athletic, Tahoe was no match and fell behind quickly. The final score was 58-89. Castles and Cefalu each had 11 points and Jackson had 9 points to lead the Vikings scoring in the loss.
Overall, South Tahoe had its best showing at the Pirate Shootout in nine years. The Vikings gained valuable experience against very athletic teams which should set them up to make a long run in Nevada’s 3A Northern Division and state playoffs.