South Tahoe girls b-ball closes first round with 56-53 loss to Elko, shows promise in defeat |

South Tahoe girls b-ball closes first round with 56-53 loss to Elko, shows promise in defeat

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe junior Claudia Janese goes up for a shot against Elko’s Lauryn Drake in the Vikings’ league contest against the Indians on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Blue Gym.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Div. I-A Northern Standings

Team League Overall

Fallon 10-0 19-0

Elko 7-1 9-2

Lowry 6-3 10-7

Spring Creek 4-4 6-11

Fernley 4-5 8-10

Truckee 4-5 10-9

South Tahoe 3-5 4-10

Dayton 1-7 4-14

Sparks 0-9 0-11

Records through Jan. 25

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe girls basketball team couldn’t come away with a victory to close the first round of Div. I-A Northern League play, but turned in one of its best performances of the season. The Vikings fell to Elko 56-53 at the Blue Gym on Saturday, Jan. 23, playing three quarters of inspired basketball after a slow start.

“That’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Vikings coach Mike Neiger said. “They showed what they’re capable of and they showed heart.”

South Tahoe (4-10, 3-5 I-A Northern) fell in a 12-0 hole to start Saturday’s game, and found itself behind 19-4 late in the opening quarter. The Vikings scored the last two buckets of the first quarter, but still trailed Elko (9-2, 7-1) by double digits after the opening eight minutes.

In the second quarter, South Tahoe came alive. The Vikings got back in the game by scoring the first six points of the frame — including back-to-back layups from junior Drue Chapman — and eventually took a 27-26 lead on a Chapman 3-pointer with 2:12 left in the half.

“They came out and totally responded,” Neiger said. “They didn’t back down and fought their way back.”

South Tahoe opened up a 31-27 lead on a basket from senior Bailey Barcellos with 1:15 remaining in the second quarter, but still trailed at the break. Elko closed the half with six straight points — including three free throws from Alicia Marin at the buzzer after she was fouled putting up a desperation shot from half court.

In the third quarter, the Vikings went in front 36-33 on a Barcellos jumper with 4:45 left in the frame. But the Indians responded with 11 straight points, and South Tahoe trailed by six headed into the fourth.

The Vikings went down by nine early in the fourth quarter, but didn’t go away. An 8-3 run pulled capped by a Chapman 3-pointer South Tahoe within a possession with 1:55 to play and set up a frantic finish.

With seven seconds left, Chapman scored a transition basket to make it 55-53. After the Indians made a free throw, the Vikings had one last chance to tie the game — but a desperation trey from Barcellos was blocked by Marin as time expired.

“It clicked with their cohesiveness and togetherness today,” Neiger said. “Everybody stepped up and it was nice basketball.”

Junior Claudia Janese finished with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s loss, leading all scorers on 8-of-15 shooting to go along with four assists. Chapman scored 14 points and Barcellos added eight.

“Claudia has the heart of a lion and she’s dedicated,” Neiger said. “She’s not afraid of anything — going up for steals when there’s contact and going up to the basket.”

Marin led Elko with 17 points, and was one of three Indians players in double figures. Ashton Heathman and Lexi Baum each added 11.

On Friday, Jan. 22, South Tahoe delivered a listless performance in a 43-19 loss to Spring Creek at the Blue Gym. The Vikings never got in rhythm offensively while being held to a season-low total.

“Nothing went in,” Neiger said. “We had decent looks and controlled the tempo — but there was a lid on the hoop.”

South Tahoe trailed 19-10 at halftime Friday, and things only got worse in the second half. Spring Creek (5-11, 3-4) opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run en route to a comfortable victory — the Vikings were held without a field goal in a two-point fourth quarter.

Janese led the Vikings with a game-high 11 points and seven rebounds in the loss, and Chapman added five points and six boards. For the Spartans, Ashley Bodin scored 10 points — three days earlier Spring Creek ended a 10-game losing streak with a win over Truckee.

Halfway through its league schedule, South Tahoe sits in seventh place in the Div. I-A Northern League standings. Only one game separates the Vikings from fourth-place Spring Creek, with the top six teams making the playoffs.

South Tahoe opened the second round of league play at Fallon on Tuesday, Jan. 26. The Vikings start the second half with three consecutive road contests — they play at Fernley on Friday, Jan. 29, and travel to Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 30.

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