On the rebound: South Tahoe girls b-ball looks to bounce back in 2016-17 season
STHS Girls Basketball 2016-17 Regular Season Schedule
Dec. 1-3 High Sierra Winter Challenge
*Dec. 6 vs. Fernley, 6 p.m.
Dec. 9 vs. Douglas, 6 p.m.
*Dec. 13 vs. Dayton, 6 p.m.
*Dec. 16 at Fallon, 6 p.m.
Dec. 22 vs. North Valleys, 6 p.m.
Dec. 26-28 Varsity Elite Tournament
*Jan. 6 vs. Truckee, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 13 vs. Sparks, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 14 at Lowry, 1 p.m.
*Jan. 20 at Spring Creek, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 21 at Elko, 1 p.m.
*Jan. 24 vs. Fallon, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 27 at Fernley, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 28 at Dayton, 1 p.m.
*Jan. 31 at Truckee, 6 p.m.
*Feb. 3 at Sparks, 6 p.m.
*Feb. 4 vs. Lowry, 1 p.m.
*Feb. 10 vs. Spring Creek, 6 p.m.
*Feb. 11 vs. Elko, 1 p.m.
*3A Northern League contest
The South Tahoe girls basketball team enters the 2016-17 season with experience and talent. Coming off a disappointing campaign, the Vikings are ready to make a playoff push.
“We all have playoffs in our minds,” said Vikings senior Drue Chapman. “That’s the big goal for all of us, and it has been since the beginning of summer.”
“Our heads are in it and we want it,” added Vikings senior Zoe Mosedale. “We’re excited for it. It’s a totally different mindset this year.”
South Tahoe returns eight players from last year’s team, including six seniors. The Vikings went 4-12 in league last year en route to a seventh-place finish, and have been motivated since the summer to bounce back from its worst mark in 3A Northern League since realignment three years ago.
“The girls are ready and they’re hungry,” said Vikings’ sixth-year head coach Mike Neiger. “For the returners, last season made them want it badly.”
The Vikings tipped off the season Thursday, Dec. 1, with a 47-40 loss at Galena (Reno, Nev.) in the High Sierra Winter Challenge. For the Vikings, working toward the 2016-17 campaign began during the summer.
“The girls played all summer together, and they got a lot of games under their belt as a group,” Neiger said. “Knowing each other will help.”
Seniors Chapman, Mosedale, Maia Smith, Claudia Janese, Brooke Erdody and Lexy Otis lead an experienced South Tahoe group that also features returning juniors Bailey Segers and Meagan Perez. Chapman scored in double-digits five times in league play last season, and averaged 6.6 points per game.
“It’s definitely shown in practice,” Chapman said of the team’s experience. “We’re all more intense, we all communicate better and we’ve almost all had the experience of being on varsity.”
Chapman and Mosedale will handle point guard duties for South Tahoe as part of a backcourt that features Erdody, the team’s best outside shooter. Janese and Smith bring size and strength on the inside, and Otis is a versatile wing player.
“It’s physical and mental strength — both go hand in hand — that will take us far this year,” Smith said. “We’re ready to not take ourselves too seriously, but really get in there and grind.”
New to varsity for the Vikings this season are sophomores Layne Hembree, Malorie Neiger, Julia Thompson and Teagan Williamson. Neiger said he expects those players to have a bigger impact later on in the season after adjusting to the varsity level.
Armed with experience, South Tahoe expects to play more consistently this season — one of its biggest issues last year. The Vikings strung together consecutive wins just once last season, and consistent performances will be key in order to claim a top-six finish and deliver a coveted playoff berth.
“We didn’t take games at the beginning of the season seriously, and it caught up to us in the end,” Chapman said. “At the end of the season we were scrambling to win games and it didn’t work out.”
South Tahoe opens its season with three games in three days at the High Sierra Winter Challenge, facing Carson (Carson City, Nev.) on Friday, Dec. 2, and Incline (Incline Village, Nev.) on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Vikings begin 3A Northern League play at home Tuesday, Dec. 6, against Fernley — tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.