South Tahoe basketball team splits pair heading into winter break |

South Tahoe basketball team splits pair heading into winter break

South Tahoe first-year head coach David Finnegan chats with his team during a timeout earlier this season.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

The South Tahoe Vikings boy’s basketball team suffered its first 3A Northern League loss Friday night against Elko, but bounced back Saturday, Dec. 16, with a victory over Spring Creek.

Both games were played at South Tahoe and the Vikings won’t return home until next year, Jan. 2, against Dayton. They head into winter break with a 4-4 overall record and 3-1 in league play.

Elko jumped on South Tahoe early, hitting three straight 3-pointers to open a 9-2 lead on the way to a 51-40 win.

“Our defense settled down after that, but we struggled to run plays on offense,” said Vikings head coach David Finnegan. “Give credit to Elko for playing tough defense.”

The Vikings had another defensive lapse in the third quarter and went into the fourth quarter down 42-26 after making it 23-17 at halftime.

“We had another defensive breakdown in the third where we gave up eight quick points off our press, which was the difference in the game,” Finnegan said. “They jumped out quick and we gave up eight easy points in the third. Other than that, our defense did a great job. We had an off-night shooting and against a very good defensive team, we cannot have breakdowns on defense. And it seemed like every loose ball or tipped ball bounced Elko’s way.”

The Vikings started Saturday’s game against Spring Creek with the same mental struggles they had the previous night. Their offense didn’t show up in the first half, scoring just 15 points.

“At halftime, I called the captains (Mccallan Castles and Peyton Galli) out of the team room to speak with them briefly,” Finnegan said. “I wanted to see what kind of leadership/desire we had on this team. I asked the captains to go in and talk to their peers who voted them captains.”

The pep talk worked. The Vikings came out of halftime pressing, creating steals and turnovers.

“I spoke with the starters before the third quarter started and reminded them to take a deep breath, this is a game and it is supposed to be fun, a game that you love to play, so work hard and leave nothing left on the court,” Finnegan said.

South Tahoe cut the lead to four points by the end of the third quarter and took the lead halfway through the final period. The Vikings scored 36 second-half points to earn a 51-47 victory.

The Vikings are off until Thursday, Dec. 28, when they play Johnson at 3 p.m. in Sacramento.

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