South Tahoe girls b-ball beats Spring Creek for first home win
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe girls basketball team delivered a complete performance Saturday despite playing shorthanded — and the result was its first home victory of the season. The Vikings used a late run to create enough separation from visiting Spring Creek for a 46-42 win last Saturday, a night after falling to Elko.
“It was huge,” Vikings head coach Mike Neiger said. “We needed at least a split with these two teams, and coming off a disappointing night this was big.”
Saturday’s game was close throughout, and after an even first quarter South Tahoe (5-8, 2-2 I-A Northern) trailed by one at halftime. The Vikings had a 21-15 lead with 1:38 left in the first half following a three-pointer from guard Drue Chapman, but Spring Creek (5-8, 2-2) closed the second quarter with seven straight points — all courtesy of guard Kristin Jordt.
South Tahoe held a 32-31 lead after a back-and-forth third quarter that featured five lead changes and two ties — and matched Spring Creek mostly thanks to Chapman. The sophomore scored the Vikings’ first nine points of the quarter — including back-to-back steals that resulted in layups midway through the frame.
“She was feeling it — she’s good and she’s capable of doing that every time out,” Neiger said.
Already without forwards Alicia Rea and Catherine Baghdikian against Spring Creek, the Vikings’ frontcourt took another hit 19 seconds into the fourth quarter when forward Valeria Garcia fouled out. Spring Creek responded by attacking inside with forwards Maddy Merschel and Johanna Marcille, who accounted for the Spartans first seven points of the frame.
South Tahoe kept pace with the Spartans’ interior game with a pair of jump shots from guard Ally King — her second shot was answered with a Marcille layup that put Spring Creek ahead 38-37 with 4:44 left. On the ensuing possession, Chapman hit a jumper from the short corner that gave the Vikings a lead they wouldn’t relinquish despite a tight finish.
With 3:28 to play, STHS guard Bailey Barcellos hit a jump shot to put the Vikings ahead by three. South Tahoe had a one-point lead less than a minute later when they closed out the game with five straight points — a free throw from Barcellos, a layup from guard Annie Buchser and two free throws from King — to seal the victory.
“That shows what they’re capable of,” Neiger said. “We went deeper into the bench, they stepped up and they were ready.”
Chapman led all scorers with 19 points, including 11 in the second half. King finished with 14, Barcellos added five and forward Andi Embry had four — the Vikings found open looks against the Spartans’ 2-3 zone throughout the game.
“We did really well with ball movement — get it into the short corner, kick it out for an open look or catch-and-shoot,” Neiger said. “There are holes to be had against that zone and we found them.”
For Spring Creek, Merschel had a team-high 16 points, Jordt finished with 13 and Marcille added nine. The Spartans couldn’t win their second game in as many days despite a size advantage inside — their height forced South Tahoe into a 2-3 zone for the entire game.
“The sign of a good team is that you can change — I’m proud of them for today, it was good,” Neiger said. “We were constantly moving with our hands in the passing lane, trying to create a little bit of chaos.”
Last Friday night, South Tahoe got off to a strong start against Elko before falling flat in defeat. The Vikings let a five-point lead after the first quarter slip away, and the Indians dominated the second and third periods on the way to a 52-33 win — it was South Tahoe’s first game in 13 days.
“That one was hard to get a handle on — we just lost composure and didn’t take care of the ball,” Neiger said.
South Tahoe closed the first quarter of Friday night’s game on a 10-2 run, using its press to jump on Elko early. A three-pointer from guard Zoe Mosedale with 27 seconds left in the opening frame put the Vikings ahead 15-10.
Elko began the second quarter on an 8-2 run to get back in front, then reeled off the last nine points of the half following a Vikings’ basket to take a 27-19 lead into the break. The Indians scored the first seven points after halftime, and held a 19-point advantage after three quarters — South Tahoe didn’t get closer than 15 in the final frame.
King led South Tahoe with 10 points and Chapman added nine — the Vikings committed 23 turnovers in the loss. For Elko, guard Hailee Simpson scored a game-high 15 points — and accounted for all the Indians’ first-quarter scoring — while guard Desirea Danner finished with 12.
South Tahoe returned to action Tuesday night in a league contest against Dayton. The Vikings host Fernley on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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