South Tahoe b-ball teams sweep Dayton on the road |

South Tahoe b-ball teams sweep Dayton on the road

Anthony Gentile

DAYTON, Nev. — The South Tahoe boys and girls basketball teams faced Dayton on the road Tuesday night — and both delivered decisive victories. The Vikings’ boys beat the Dust Devils 65-41 while STHS’ girls won 57-35, victories that keep playoff hopes alive for each team.

In the boys game, South Tahoe (11-11, 7-6 I-A Northern) jumped out to an early lead then rode a big third quarter past the Dust Devils. For the Vikings, the victory completed a season sweep of Dayton (4-15, 2-11).

“Dayton definitely had the spoiler mentality, but our boys played with a lot of will,” South Tahoe coach Joby Cefalu said. “We had some guys step up and do some things we haven’t had, then we had some guys step up and do the things that we needed to have happen.”

South Tahoe led 18-8 after the opening quarter, and had a 12-point lead at halftime. The Vikings blew open the game by outscoring Dayton 22-8 in the third quarter on the way to a 24-point win.

“In the third quarter we really spread it out, and that had a lot to do with good execution — both offensively and defensively,” Cefalu said.

Forward Stone Merkley finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in the victory, both team-highs. Merkley shot 7-for-13 from the field and made all three of his free-throw attempts against the Dust Devils.

“Stone had a standout game — he did some really good things,” Cefalu said.

Guard Kirby David also finished in double figures against Dayton, scoring 10 points to go along with six rebounds. Forward Ethan Strain and guard Harry Moses-Chakmakis each added nine points — both players finished 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.

The win was the Vikings’ second straight, and keeps them in position for a playoff berth. South Tahoe is currently a half-game behind fourth-place Fallon (10-11, 7-5) and has three games left in the regular season.

“They know the importance of these games — anyone of these games can knock us out,” Cefalu said. “It’s just a matter of getting the job done — the kids understand that and they’re playing with a little extra bounce in their step.”

In the first half of the doubleheader, the Vikings’ girls team ended a two-game slide with a 22-point with over the Dust Devils. South Tahoe (9-13, 6-7) shook off a slow start en route to a comfortable win over Dayton (2-18, 0-13).

“We got back to the basics — push the ball up the floor and beat your opponent to the spot — which created good looks,” Vikings head Mike Neiger said.

“We were also very active on defense and deflected several passes.”

South Tahoe trailed by four after the first quarter, and took control of the game by outscoring the Dust Devils 22-6 in the second quarter. Ahead 28-16 at halftime, the Vikings rolled to victory in the second half — they more than doubled their average of 28.2 points per game over their previous five league contests.

Guard Drue Chapman led South Tahoe with 14 points in the win to go along with four assists and six steals, and was one of three Vikings in double figures. Guard Ally King finished two rebounds shy of her second triple-double with 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, while guard Bailey Barcellos had 10 points and five rebounds.

“It was nice to see Bailey and Drue find their shooting stroke again,” Neiger said.

With the win, the Vikings remained within reach of the postseason. South Tahoe is currently alone in fifth place, one-and-a-half games behind Spring Creek (10-11, 7-5) for the last playoff spot.

South Tahoe returns to action Saturday in a doubleheader at Fernley — the girls game tips off at 1 p.m. with the boys game afterward. The Vikings will hold Senior Night next Tuesday at home against Sparks, and conclude the regular season by hosting Fallon on Saturday, Feb. 14.

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