Oh my gosh, Vikings down Valley boys
South Tahoe High coach Tom Orlich built this Vikings boys basketball team to run at state, and that’s what it did, beating Valley 54-49 in Wednesday’s 4A quarterfinals.
Orlich’s Vikings squad was one of two team from Northern Nevada to survive the first round of the playoffs at Lawlor Events Center, squeezing out a first-round win. The Vikings advance to meet Las Vegas Durango, a 71-62 winner over Reno in the first round.
“They said you can’t beat three Southern teams, and we’re not,” Orlich said after the Vikings won in the first round for the second time since 1992. “We’re just trying to beat them one at a time.”
South Tahoe beat that first one without forcing the usual slew of turnovers its full-court press creates. Valley’s Vikings turned the ball over 11 times to South Tahoe’s seven, but execution down the stretch made the difference. South Tahoe outscored Valley just 20-18 in the fourth quarter but made the most of its opportunities on the glass and at the free-throw line.
“We smelled victory, and we started to get tougher on the glass,” Orlich said.
Senior center Bob Larmore and classmate Travis McCollum led the South Tahoe comeback on the glass after Valley’s athletic frontline destroyed South Tahoe’s 8 boards to 2 in the first quarter. Valley still outrebounded South Tahoe 25-20 overall after the Vikings rally, but couldn’t creep closer at the end.
Orlich’s squad also hit 12 of its 14 fourth-quarter free throws, while Valley’s Vikings were just three of four from the line in the period. That was especially important toward the end, as Valley gave South Tahoe 14 chances to score with the clock stopped.
Senior point guard John Giannoni III hit 6 of his 8 free throws in the fourth and finished with 11 points. Larmore had a team-high 16, and senior forward Andy Butcher 15 more points for South Tahoe.
Valley senior forward Chris Green scored all of his game-high 17 in the second half, and junior guard Sam Jackson finished with 12.
Valley took its last lead of the game at 35-34 before South Tahoe took over at the stripe. With STHS leading 36-35 on the next series, referees called Butcher’s strip of Green a foul, putting the Valley forward on the line. But before Green could get a shot off, Giannoni drew a push from Jackson, sending the point guard to the other free-throw line, where he hit both ends of a 1-and-1.
“We did hit some key free throws, and I think that was a big thing down the stretch,” Orlich said.
Valley crept as close as three in the second half, but couldn’t catch up. Two more Giannoni free throws gave the Vikings a 44-39 lead with 2 minutes, 10 seconds to go, then Larmore pushed the lead to 48-42 a little more than a minute later. Green and Larmore traded baskets, but Butcher essentially sealed the game, making two more free throws with 30 seconds remaining. Giannoni hit two more free throws down the stretch for South Tahoe’s final margin.
“I think it came down to who had a better fourth quarter,” Orlich said. “We settled down a bit.”
The Vikings continue their state run at 6:35 p.m. today when they take on Durango in the state semifinals at Lawlor. The winner advances to meet the winner of the semifinal between McQueen and Bishop Gorman in the championship on Friday night.
4A state quarterfinal
At Lawlor Events Center, Reno
South Tahoe 54, Valley 49
South Tahoe Vikings: Larmore 12 4-7 16, Butcher 13 2-2 15, Giannoni 4 7-9 11, Williams 3 0-0 3, McCollum 4 3-4 7, Sprinkles 0
1-2 1, Ortiz 0 1-2 1, Totals 36 18-26 54
Valley Vikings: Green 17 0-0 17, Jackson 10 2-2 12, Stovall 4 0-0 4, Stevens 5 3-4 8, Crooks 4 2-2 6, Pena 2 0-0 2, Totals 42
pointers: South Tahoe: Williams, Butcher; Valley: Stevens, Green
Halftime 20-17 South Tahoe; Total fouls: Valley 17, South Tahoe 15; Rebounds: Valley 25 (Stovall 8), South Tahoe 20 (McCollum
6); Turnovers: South Tahoe 7 (Giannoni 3), Valley 11 (Brown 3); Steals: South Tahoe 5 (Williams, Giannoni 2), Valley 2; Assists:
South Tahoe 11 (Giannoni 3), Valley 6; Blocks, Valley 4 (Stovall 3), South Tahoe 1; Fouled out – none; Technicals – none
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