South Tahoe boys b-ball downs Foothill 60-49 in season opener, denies Hibbs milestone win
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe boys basketball team made its 2015-16 season debut on Friday, Nov. 27, and opened the campaign on a successful note. The Vikings downed Foothill (Sacramento, Calif.) 60-49 at the Blue Gym, denying former STHS standout Drew Hibbs his 400th career win with a soild performance.
“The kids came out and played tough, but we have a lot of improving to do,” Vikings coach Joby Cefalu said. “The kids just stepped up and started playing basketball. They worked together as a team, and our rotation looked good.”
South Tahoe (1-0) shook a slow start Friday en route to a double-digit victory. The Vikings beat Foothill (0-1), coached by 1984 Northern Nevada League MVP Hibbs — the former Viking came into the game with 399 career wins.
“It’s special to have a guy like Drew come to our gym and play,” Cefalu said. “I’ve always looked up to Drew and he’s one of the better coaches. It was nice having Foothill come up to play South Tahoe — I can’t wait for Drew to get his 400th win, but I’m glad it didn’t happen on our court.”
The Vikings fell in a 5-0 hole to start Friday’s game, but rallied to take a 17-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. South Tahoe had a 32-19 advantage by halftime.
“I think we were a little intimidated to start the game, and as the game moved on our confidence grew,” Cefalu said. “We went back to what we’re good at, and it definitely had an effect.”
In the second half, the Vikings extended their lead to 48-32 after three quarters. Foothill mounted a comeback in the fourth, but South Tahoe was able to close out the Mustangs for a win in its season opener.
“They started closing the gap in the fourth quarter and our kids were resilient,” Cefalu said. “They fought off that rally and were able to walk off the court with a victory.”
Denzel Perez shot 65 percent in the victory, leading a balanced South Tahoe attack. Seniors Perez, Joe Albrecht and Blake Blocker each delivered strong rebounding numbers while junior Tommy Cefalu shot well and dished out seven assists.
“We have a motto this year: pick up the pennies and do the little things right,” Cefalu said. “For the most part, the kids did the little things right — and it turned out to be a victory.”
South Tahoe returns to action Thursday, Dec. 3, when it opens play at the El Dorado Gold Dust Tournament against CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. 1 opposition Roseville (Calif.) at 4 p.m. The Vikings will play three games in three days at the tournament, and will do so without Albrecht — the 6-foot-10-inch senior is taking a recruiting trip to Cornell University for football.
“We’re going to see which kids step up and fill that void,” Cefalu said. “It’s a big void to fill.”