Only wins, not effort lacking for Lady Vikings
Last Friday’s 60-50 loss to Fallon may have marked the completion of the 1998-99 basketball season for the South Tahoe girls varsity team, but it also signaled the end of an era for five seniors – or five good friends – playing their last game in the gold and blue threads.
“It was sad, knowing that this was it for the five of us,” Viking forward Brooke Hoppe said. Fellow STHS seniors Katie Hayward, Casey Hydrick, Coral Cortez and Allison David joined Hoppe in the starting five for their emotional high school finale. “There’s no next season for us. No more opportunities to try to do things better or the right way.”
The Viking quintet had played together since the seventh grade and became great friends on and off the court. The group was honored in a ceremony before Friday’s game, and received flowers from the team and a hug from coach Tim Jaureguito.
“I’ll just miss playing basketball, messing around,” said Hayward, a forward. “I think I’ll miss the moments right before the game the most. When we’re all together in the locker room talking about the game and getting ourselves ready.”
Though the Vikings struggled through a 5-24 season and an 0-12 division mark, the seniors stuck together as a unit when they could have just as easily not cared.
“We didn’t win much, but we played as a team,” said David, a forward. “We improved and progressed each game and I think we got a lot better by the end of the season.”
“If we had two more months, we’d be right there,” Hayward said.
For some South Tahoe players, it was difficult to understand the finality of the last game. And it brought out a lot of emotion.
“I was actually confused because at first I wasn’t sure if I did my best or not,” Cortez said. “Seeing the scoreboard, sitting on the bench, hearing the national anthem before the game – it all got to me. It was like getting pushed out the door, but I didn’t want to leave.”
For the first three quarters Friday, it looked like the Vikings were on their way to their first-ever Division II victory. They led the Greenwave by 10 points as late as the fourth quarter, but succumbed to turnovers and Fallon’s successful transition play.
Though the Vikes were unable to pick up the victory against the Greenwave, the seniors left the Blue and Gold Gym for the last time as players with no regrets.
“We left it all out on the court,” said Cortez, a 5-foot-5 guard. “We never gave up, no matter what people said, no matter what the odds were.”
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