South Tahoe girls b-ball can’t match undefeated Fallon, falls 55-27
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — In a battle between Div. I-A Northern League unbeatens, a lack of consistency cost the South Tahoe girls basketball team. The Vikings fell to Fallon 55-27 on Saturday, Jan. 2, at the Blue Gym, unable to maintain a fast start and keep the Greenwave from a 12th consecutive victory to start the season.
“They stayed consistent where we were up and then down,” Vikings coach Mike Neiger said. “We went into a shell and we didn’t match their aggression.”
South Tahoe (2-6, 2-1 I-A Northern) got off to the ideal start against the Greenwave, racing out to an early lead in the first quarter. A scoop shot from junior Drue Chapman put the Vikings ahead 8-1 with 2:35 left in the opening frame, as the hosts jumped in front while keeping Fallon (12-0, 4-0) out of rhythm on offense.
“What a start,” Neiger said. “I loved the energy — it showed what we’re capable of.”
The Greenwave’s first field goal of the game came 10 seconds after Chapman’s basket, and sparked a 6-0 run. With 44 seconds left in the first quarter, Fallon freshman Lani Otuafi hit a 3-pointer that tied the game at 10 — the visitors closed the frame on a 9-2 run to pull even.
Fallon carried that momentum into the second quarter, opening with a 12-1 spurt to take a double-digit lead. In an eight-minute span, the Greenwave buried South Tahoe with a 23-3 extended run; the Vikings couldn’t slow the visitors while struggling offensively.
South Tahoe was held without a field goal until the last 30 seconds of the second quarter, with a jump shot from senior Bailey Barcellos cutting Fallon’s lead to 24-15. The Vikings trailed by 11 at halftime after scoring just seven points in the last 10:35 of the first half.
“They kept doing the little things that they do and they beat us down to the block,” Neiger said. “That was the difference — they did it for three quarters and we did it for one.”
In the third quarter, the Vikings’ struggles continued as the Greenwave pulled away. Fallon outscored South Tahoe 12-2 in the frame, with the hosts’ only points coming in two trips to the free-throw line.
“We wanted to be patient against their press, but I think we got too patient and too slow,” Neiger said. “That’s not what we do.”
The Vikings trailed by 21 points after three quarters, and didn’t get closer than that in the final frame. South Tahoe ended its drought when senior Annie Buchser converted a layup with 5:10 left to make the score 44-21, but Fallon closed out the Vikings to hand them their first league loss in decisive fashion.
“That was a frustrating three quarters of basketball,” Neiger said. “Hopefully this serves as motivation for later.”
Barcellos scored a game-high 14 points for South Tahoe in the loss, and was the team’s only player in double figures. The Vikings shot 23 percent from the field and committed 27 turnovers in defeat.
For Fallon, sophomore Caitlyn Welch scored 11 points to lead a balanced attack. Senior Megan McCormick and freshman Leta Otuafi finished with 10 apiece while Lani Otuafi added nine.
South Tahoe returned to action Tuesday, Jan. 5, in a league game at Truckee. The Vikings host crosstown rival Whittell on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the Blue Gym — tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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