South Tahoe boys b-ball runs past Fernley 72-53, wins 3A Northern League debut
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — In its home debut Tuesday, Dec. 6, the South Tahoe boys basketball team delivered an impressive performance. In the process, the Vikings showed just how much promise this season holds.
The Vikings ran past Fernley 72-53 at the Blue Gym on Tuesday night to open 3A Northern League play. South Tahoe simply had too much for the Vaqueros en route to a decisive victory.
“It was huge just getting our feet under us,” said Vikings senior Noah Jackson, who scored a game-high 21 points in the win. “Playing in front of the home crowd was awesome, and it’s a good way to get the league season started.”
Tuesday’s game got off to a back-and-forth start before South Tahoe (2-2, 1-0 3A Northern) settled in and took control. The Vikings scored 11 unanswered points in the last 1:47 the first half to turn a narrow deficit into a 37-29 halftime lead.
“We knew we were going to come out fast, but knew they would get a run eventually,” Vikings junior McCallan Castles said. “We talked about how we would just recover from that run, and as soon as that run was over we would just get it going — and never look back.”
Senior Tommy Cefalu capped the spurt with a fast-break layup with eight seconds left in the second quarter. South Tahoe took all the momentum into the break, and kept Fernley (3-2, 0-1) at a distance in the second half.
The Vikings led by six early in the third quarter when they unleashed a run that effectively put the game away. South Tahoe scored 13 straight points to build a 51-32 lead, and during that stretch the home crowd saw exactly what Castles brings to the court.
In consecutive offense possessions, Castles unleashed a two-handed dunk on the fast break, hit a 3-pointer from the corner and led the break before dishing a bounce pass that led to a layup for junior Peyton Galli. The impressive sequence was part of a strong performance in the 6-foot-5-inch junior’s much-anticipated home debut.
“We kept playing like a team, and that’s how we got all those great plays going,” Castles said. “When I got that chance to dunk, I was going to hammer it down no matter what.”
“That was definitely the loudest I’ve heard the gym,” senior Harry Moses-Chakmakis said about Castles’ two-handed jam.
South Tahoe led by at least 11 points after the big third-quarter run, and stretched that lead with 10 straight points late in the fourth quarter. For a Vikings’ team with league championship aspirations, the 19-point victory marked the first step toward that goal.
“We all came out with a lot of energy from the start,” Moses-Chakmakis said. “We really wanted this game and we were all fired up for it.”
Jackson scored all but four of his 21 points in the first half to help the Vikings keep pace with Fernley early on. Castles and Moses-Chakmakis finished with 14 points apiece, Cefalu had nine and Galli added eight.
For Fernley, junior Zach Burns scored 17 points — but only had eight after hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter. Burns was the only scorer in double figures for the Vaqueros, who came into the contest with two straight wins.
South Tahoe resumes league play at home Tuesday, Dec. 13, against Dayton. Tipoff inside the Blue Gym is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.