South Tahoe boys b-ball rolls Fernley 77-44
FERNLEY, Nev. — The South Tahoe boys basketball team took another step toward the postseason on the road Saturday. The Vikings delivered a 77-44 victory at Fernley for their third straight win, a result that keeps them in position for the last playoff spot in Div. I-A Northern League entering the final week of the regular season.
“The boys stepped up and played really good offense and defense, shots were going down with good shot selection and there was great effort on both sides of the ball,” Vikings head coach Joby Cefalu said.
South Tahoe (12-11, 8-6 I-A Northern) completed a sweep of the Vaqueros in a game played at an uptempo pace throughout. Fernley (8-13, 3-10) prefers to play transition-oriented basketball, and that speed suited the Vikings from the outset.
“We really adjusted well to the pace of the game and the opposing team,” Cefalu said. “Playing at a fast pace is something we like to do as well.”
The Vikings had a 24-15 lead after the first quarter, and led by 22 at halftime after a 21-point second quarter. South Tahoe took a 25-point lead into the fourth quarter, and extended that en route to its most decisive win of the season.
“We’re definitely finding it defensively, and offensively we’re improving a great deal,” Cefalu said. “Each one of the boys is filling their role really well.”
Forward Stone Merkley scored a season-high 30 points in the victory, and was one of two South Tahoe players in double figures. The senior shot 11-for-21 from the field and made all eight of his free-throw attempts.
“Stone had a good all-around game — a lot of it was Stone and a lot of it was his teammates feeding him,” Cefalu said. “That 30 could look like a selfish number, but it absolutely was not — he played extremely unselfish, he had kids feeding him and he was getting to the spot.”
Guard Harry Moses-Chakmakis scored 11 points for the Vikings on 5-of-7 shooting. Forward Tyler Hogbin added eight, guards Noah Jackson and Chase Waterman had six apiece while guards Denzel Perez and Kirby David each finished with five.
For Fernley, guard Zach Burns led the way with 15 points. In two wins over the Vaqueros this season, South Tahoe has averaged 79 points per game.
“Hitting shots and picking the right ones definitely attributes to that high score,” Cefalu said.
Saturday’s win moved the Vikings one-half game ahead of Fallon for fourth place in the league standings, and the Greenwave (11-12, 8-6) pulled back even with a win over Dayton on Monday. South Tahoe and Fallon will meet Saturday in a game that will decide who moves on into the postseason.
“It’s nice to have your destiny in your own hands rather than somebody else’s,” Cefalu said. “We’re in a good position.”
South Tahoe returned to action Tuesday night at home against Sparks for Senior Night. The Vikings conclude the regular by hosting Fallon on Saturday — tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
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