South Tahoe boys plan to run, run, run this year
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Run Run Run is a song name and it will also be the theme this year for the South Tahoe boys’ basketball team.
Some of the lyrics from one version of the 2016 song released by a German duo include:
I only lose my fear when I run run run
I won’t lose a tear when I run run run
And now our time is right so we run run run
The time is most definitely right for the Vikings to run run run.
South Tahoe lacks considerable height and will attempt to overcome the deficiency by swarming and creating chaos on defense, running the floor and using their training at 6,300 feet elevation to make opponents double over and gasp for breath.
What the Vikings don’t lack is ball handlers, athleticism and speed.
“We’re very young this year with three seniors and 10 juniors,” said Vikings second-year head coach David Finnegan. “We have speed and we have some pretty good ball handlers. We’re going to run the floor all the time and we’re looking to cause some havoc on defense. We’ll have to use our speed, quickness and agility the best we can to try and offset that lack of height.”
Gone this year is the Northern League most valuable player McCallan Castles, who graduated and took his massive size, 6 feet, 6 inches, and ability to Berkeley where he is playing football on scholarship for Cal.
“It’s a lot different, a lot of our offense was through him,” said Vikings senior Cameron Johnson. “It was hard not to give the ball to him because he was so big and such a big part of this team. Hopefully we play everybody and they all play their hearts out for a few minutes at a time so its never half effort. We want full effort for every second.”
Johnson, a 5-foot-10 guard/forward was named team captain right before his interview with the Tribune and was thrilled his teammates thinks he has what it takes to be a leader.
Johnson and brothers Kevin and Cameron Lehmann, who have played on the same hoops and baseball teams for years, are expected to carry most of the scoring load.
Kevin Lehmann, a 6-2 senior, is the team’s leading returning scorer at 10.5 points per game while Cameron, a 5-9 junior, averaged 7.5 and Johnson 3.7.
“We’re not as tall or physically built as last year but we’re way quicker,” said Kevin Lehmann. “The key is to run the floor, get steals, and keep running. Run people out of the building.”
Junior Carl Valiente (5-9) started his varsity career as a sophomore and is someone Finnegan expects to slash to the hoop and score some points.
“We still have a couple of kids that can definitely put the ball in the hoop and we’ve got some penetrators that can get to the hoop,” Finnegan said. “This year we have more kids that can contribute. Kevin and Cameron, I’m hoping they both have about 15 points per game. Cameron, I hope he’s developed into more of a scorer and Carl, I’m hoping he can contribute more points.”
Finnegan is also relying on juniors Frank Aquilina (5-9) and Logan Chapman (5-9) to provide pressure defense and make some shots.
“Frankie and Logan, I’m looking for defense and steals from those guys and hopefully we can get out in transition with turnovers,” Finnegan said. “Our defense is better than last year, and there should be some unsung heroes.”
Finnegan says he has a lot of contributors that “might not be in the paper with a lot of points,” but he expects different kids to step up at various times and make plays.
“I think this team has better concepts of understanding basketball,” Finnegan said.
The Vikings expectations remain high even though their reach isn’t.
They want to return to playoffs like last year and try to earn a higher seed than five or six to avoid playing one of the expected top two teams in the Northern League, Churchill County and Elko, in the first round.
“I’d like to make playoffs my senior year,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, we an go in a higher seed than a five or six.”
“I feel excited,” Valiente said. “I hope we win games and we go to regionals and then state.”
“It’s a special year for basketball and baseball for me,” Kevin Lehmann said. “I think we can win the league and go from there.”