South Tahoe boys b-ball shoots past Fallon 69-56, delivers second straight league win
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe basketball team faced a Div. I-A Northern League opponent that has become its nemesis over the past two seasons — and dispatched them with ease. The Vikings downed Fallon 69-56 at the Blue Gym on Saturday, Jan. 2, riding a big first half to a second straight league win.
“We were confident going in,” Vikings junior Harry Moses-Chakmakis said. “The past two years they’ve shut us out, so we had to come out and get them back.”
After a back and forth start, South Tahoe (5-8, 2-1) closed the first quarter with nine straight points to take a 25-17 lead. Steals from juniors Noah Jackson and Moses-Chakmakis that led to fast break layups capped the run, and the Vikings held Fallon (3-9, 1-3) scoreless in the last three minutes to jump in front.
Late in the second quarter, another 9-0 run helped South Tahoe extend its lead. A 3-pointer from senior Blake Blocker with 1:24 left in the half made it 41-23, and at halftime the hosts held a 17-point advantage while controlling the game.
“Our practices have been pretty high intensity to make sure that we could come out like that,” Blocker said.
In two meetings with Fallon last season — including a loss to conclude the regular season that kept them out of the playoffs — South Tahoe averaged 46 points per game while struggling to crack the Greenwave’s 1-3-1 zone defense. On Saturday, the Vikings nearly reached that total in the first two quarters while slicing through the zone.
“We had our second team run the 1-3-1 and we ran the 1-3-1 against them in practice every day,” Perez said. “We were figuring out where the gaps were and how to beat it, and we eventually got there.”
South Tahoe put the breaks on its offense after halftime, and led by 18 points after an even third quarter. The Vikings opened up a 67-45 lead midway through the fourth quarter on a pair of free throws from Blocker, and won handily despite a 14-2 run from Fallon in the last four minutes.
“We’re sending a message out to the league telling them that we’re here to play,” Perez said.
The Vikings were knocked out of the postseason by Fallon each of the last two seasons, and had revenge on their minds entering Saturday’s game. South Tahoe was able to beat the Greenwave due in large part to outside shooting — STHS made 10 3-pointers, including three apiece from Blocker, Moses-Chakmakis and senior Denzel Perez.
“Things are going well and we’re going to keep rolling,” Moses-Chakmakis said.
Perez led South Tahoe with a game-high 21 points Saturday. The senior scored 20 points in the first three frames, and had 10 of the Vikings’ 15 third-quarter points.
“Every shot felt good,” Perez said. “It was just patience with what we do — I’ll get my shots and I’ll find my teammates to get theirs.”
Moses-Chakmakis finished with 16 points, including 12 in the first half. Blocker scored 13 and Jackson added seven.
For Fallon, junior Dylan Ridenour led the way with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Ridenour was one of four Greenwave players with at least seven points in the loss.
South Tahoe’s win marked its second straight in league play and second consecutive overall. The Vikings concluded play at the San Pedro Pirate Shootout with a 72-56 win over King Drew (Los Angeles) on Wednesday, Dec. 30, after losses to South (Torrance, Calif.) (70-68), Gardena (Calif.) (63-51) and San Pedro (Calif.) (73-69).
“In Southern California, they’re way faster and it’s a faster pace for us compared to our league — it helps us out a lot with the way we run,” Blocker said. “We definitely came together as a group down there. We all had a good time.”
The Vikings returned to action Tuesday, Jan. 5, in a league contest at Truckee. After facing the Wolverines, South Tahoe has a 10-day break before playing at Sparks on Jan. 15.
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