Potential and promise: South Tahoe girls b-ball looks to end postseason drought with athletic squad
2015-16 Regular Season Schedule
Dec. 1 vs. Incline, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 3-5 High Sierra Winter Challenge
Dec. 9 vs. Wooster, 7:30 p.m.
*Dec. 11 vs. Fernley, 6 p.m.
Dec. 12 vs. North Valleys, 1 p.m.
*Dec. 22 vs. Dayton, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 2 vs. Fallon, 1 p.m.
Jan. 6 vs. Whittell, 7:30 p.m.
*Jan. 9 at Truckee, 1 p.m.
*Jan. 15 at Sparks, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 16 vs. Lowry, 1 p.m.
*Jan. 22 vs. Spring Creek, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 23 vs. Elko, 1 p.m.
*Jan. 26 at Fallon, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 29 at Fernley, 6 p.m.
*Jan. 30 at Dayton, 1 p.m.
*Feb. 2 vs. Truckee, 6 p.m.
*Feb. 5 at Lowry, 6 p.m.
*Feb. 6 vs. Sparks, 1 p.m.
*Feb. 12 at Spring Creek, 6 p.m.
*Feb. 13 at Elko, 1 p.m.
Home games in bold
*Div. I-A Northern League game
The South Tahoe girls basketball team has the athleticism and talent to do something it hasn’t done in three seasons during the 2015-16 campaign — make the playoffs. The Vikings aim to end their postseason drought with a young group counting on potential to outweigh inexperience.
“Everybody is committed and they know we want to go far,” Vikings senior Annie Buchser said. “It feels like we’re all working towards it this year.”
South Tahoe finished 11-14 last season, one game out of the last playoff spot in Div. I-A Northern League. Two postseason spots were added for this year, and the Vikings see that as a boost to their plans to make a postseason appearance.
“I really enjoy the group of girls that just came up and I see a lot of potential in all of us,” Vikings senior Bailey Barcellos said. “We all have strengths that blend together really well, and that can give us a great outcome this season.”
Four players return from last year’s team — seniors Barcellos and Buchser along with juniors Drue Chapman and Zoe Mosedale. Those four are primarily charged with making up the production of Ally King, who led the Vikings in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals during the 2014-15 season.
“We potentially have more scorers than last year,” Vikings coach Mike Neiger said. “It doesn’t have to go through one player’s hands — they know that they can step up and do it themselves instead of relying on one or two players.”
Each of South Tahoe’s four returning players have leadership and scoring ability, and plan to create a balanced offensive attack for the Vikings. Barcellos will primarily run the point with Chapman and Mosedale on the wings and Buchser inside.
“All of us together set a great example — whether it’s pushing the ball, being aggressive or doing what you need to do, we as a core work very well together,” Barcellos. “The team is going to fall into place because of that.”
Varsity newcomers include juniors Lexi Otis, Brooke Erdody, Sam Kallas, Claudia Janese, Maia Smith and Kellan McLaughlin. Senior Karina Nunez and sophomore Meagan Perez round out the roster.
“The key is coming together and playing as a unit with all of these new faces,” Neiger said. “The base is there and the athleticism is there.”
The Vikings’ athleticism will make them dangerous on both ends of the floor this season. Adding to that on the offensive end of the court are new offensive plays that will diversify the team’s attack that typically prefers to score in transition.
“If I can keep them from getting frustrated because we’re all learning something new, we’ll be fine,” Neiger said. “We just don’t want to be predictable — we’ve been doing the same offensive things since I’ve been here, and we need to turn the page a little bit.”
South Tahoe focused on conditioning more during the summer, taking a page from the school’s historic hoops past to prepare for the seasons. The Vikings have run “17s” for time — a conditioning drill Neiger ran as a senior as part of a state championship boys team — and currently complete them in 1 minute, 23 seconds.
“We’ve been doing so much more conditioning and the coaches have been pushing us,” Barcellos said. “That’s the recipe to push us to get to playoffs, and eventually state.”
The Vikings tip off the season at the Blue Gym on Tuesday, Dec. 1, against Incline at 5:30 p.m. After playing in the High Sierra Winter Challenge in Reno, Nevada, from Dec. 3-5, South Tahoe returns home for six straight games — including its league opener Dec. 11 against Fernley.
“We have the skills and the practice habits to go really far this year,” Buchser said. “It’s purely a mindset.”