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Miracle victory for STHS Vikings

Steve Yingling

South Tahoe High has a history of making improbable comebacks.

Certainly, the Vikings’ most dramatic rally came in a 68-67 triumph over Reed in the 1989 Northern Nevada AAA zone basketball championship. Not only did the Vikings rally from five points down in the final 10 seconds, but Steven Haase punctuated the incredible comeback with an all-in-one-motion interception and desperate 25-foot basket cast as time expired for the decisive points.

Eight years later, the Vikings are still pulling off miraculous victories.

On Friday, trailing Canoga Park, Calif., by six points with just under 20 seconds remaining, the Vikings used two key steals and two three-point baskets to force overtime and eventually pull out a 90-86 win in their Nike National Prep Classic opener in San Diego.

“You always have to put yourselves in a situation to win and not give up. They learned a valuable lesson, not only can you win, but if you have a lead you can lose,” said Viking coach Tom Orlich.

South Tahoe senior Casey Dowling started the unlikely comeback by canning a trey with nine seconds remaining. Following a time-out, Viking senior Alan Case converted his own steal into a game-tying three-pointer. After Canoga Park opted for a time-out with three seconds left, Case swiped another pass, but his subsequent shot from just over midcourt missed the mark, sending the game into overtime tied at 78-78.

In overtime, Adam Williams’ jump shot gave STHS the lead, but Canoga Park regained the upperhand with a trifecta. Vikings’ Aaron Buckman retaliated with his own three, but Canoga Park gamely stayed within two points until Case hit two clutch free throws with 18 seconds left to put STHS ahead by four.

“It was incredible. Actually it would have been more incredible if Alan would have hit that shot at the buzzer. Three shots in a matter of 10 seconds .. the kids found a way to win,” said the 23-year Viking coach.

Case led the Vikings with 27 points, followed by Dowling with 20 and Buckman with 15.

The euphoria didn’t carry over into a second-round game with Poway of San Diego on Saturday. Poway used its superior inside game to run away with an 87-70 triumph.

“They have a 6-10 guy who’s signed with San Diego State, a 6-6 guy and a real good guard who got 28,” Orlich said. “There wasn’t any phase of the game that we played well. It was one of those games where nothing went right for us and everything went well for them.”

The same trio did most of STHS’s scoring. Dowling topped the Vikings with 18 points. Cased added 14 and Buckman 12.

Despite a 1-1 record in San Diego, Orlich isn’t pleased.

“We haven’t played real well down here. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of size, quick guards, good-shooting forwards and good depth,” Orlich said.

The Vikings, 10-2 overall, square off with Australian Capital of Queensland at 6:20 p.m. today. A South Tahoe win would propel it into a trophy game on Tuesday.

“Everybody is up to play us, and it’s good for our kids,” Orlich said. “We’d like to walk away with a trophy because we’ve never done that (down here).”


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