‘Magnificent Seven’ runs the court — often — in Shootout
If the South Tahoe Basketball Club wasn’t in shape before the South Tahoe Shootout, the team could have made a fitness video by the final game Sunday afternoon.
Playing their ninth game in four days and 16th in two weeks with a core of seven players, South Tahoe continued to work on making the past two disappointing seasons history.
Although it only won once in seven games, defeating Juan Diego, Utah, on Sunday, South Tahoe further developed a chemistry that will come in handy when the school seasons begins in December.
“We played right there with all of them,” said Tom Esposito, who filled in for regular coach Derek Allister, who was away on business. “We’re going to have a good team .. if we just get a little deeper.”
Baseball, job commitments and family vacations forced South Tahoe to play with five to seven players fewer than their opponents, but Esposito was pleased with their overall effort.
“These kids are working really hard. This ‘Magnificent Seven,’ they just work their butts off all through our summer camp and they’re good kids,” Esposito said.
“We’re short on guys and that was a big factor,” said South Tahoe guard Chris Perry. “
South Tahoe had an opportunity to win its final game, losing to Sky View, Utah, 50-48. Sophomore-to-be Kyle Churchill was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer at the final buzzer. However the rim was unkind to Churchill on his first two attempts, preventing overtime or a South Tahoe victory.
“We got into position to win that one … Kyle was in a tough spot,” Esposito said.
“That was a lot of pressure on a young player like that,” he said.
Dan Tobin, known for his all-out style of play, was gratified that his team didn’t coast into a two-week break.
“In that last game everybody played with a lot of heart because everybody was tired,” Tobin said.
Earlier Sunday, Perry delivered South Tahoe’s lone victory, canning a 3-point attempt from the corner with 4 seconds remaining. The 48-46 victory avenged a 50-48 scrimmage defeat to Juan Diego, Utah, three days earlier.
“They jumped out toward the 3-point line and I just faded back, shot it and it went in,” Perry said. “I’ve never made a shot like that. Everybody was jumping around … it was cool.”
Besides the defeat to Sky View, South Tahoe lost Gold Division games to Oakland; Campolindo of Moraga, Calif.; Woodbridge of Irvine, Calif.; Berkeley; and Amador.
But in defeat, South Tahoe became a more cohesive unit.
“I think we learned a lot about each other and what to do as a team and our weaknesses and our strengths,” Johnson said. “Most of our plays worked real good.”
“We kept improving,” Tobin said. “It was good experience to get better, and we’re just preparing for the season.”
“We’re on our way,” said Perry, who has one day off before helping out with Tom Orlich’s South Tahoe Youth Basketball Camp on Tuesday. “We still have a lot of games to go through, and it’s gonna be kind of fun this year … it’s going to be interesting.”
Judge Memorial, Utah; and Foothill, Calif., were the tournament’s top two teams, posting 7-0 and 6-1 records, respectively.