South Tahoe girls b-ball downs crosstown rival Whittell 50-18
ZEPHYR COVE — The latest installment of the South Tahoe-Whittell girls basketball rivalry featured two teams going in different directions at the conclusion of nonleague play. The Vikings turned up the pressure early en route to a 50-18 victory over the Warriors on their home court Monday night, marking their seventh straight win in the series.
From the opening tip, South Tahoe (3-5) applied pressure while running full- and half-court man-to-man defense. The Vikings forced 14 turnovers in the first quarter, and opened up 15-6 lead over Whittell (2-7).
“That was the idea — we wanted to come out and apply pressure,” Vikings head coach Mike Neiger said. “Pressure causes turnovers and that was evident tonight — we got a lot of opportunities off turnovers.”
The Warriors scored the first points of the game on a three from guard Daria Sharon 21 seconds in, and had a 3-0 lead until South Tahoe guard Bailey Barcellos hit a corner jumper with 5:06 left in the opening frame. The Vikings led 7-6 with 2:29 left in the quarter, and closed with eight straight points to build a nine-point lead — Barcellos made a transition jumper with 15 seconds left to cap the run.
“Every time we play South Tahoe, we get nervous — our best thing was that first three-pointer and then the wheels fell off,” Warriors head coach Tom Esposito said. “We weren’t very organized with the way we ran everything — we couldn’t put a press on them and nothing really worked tonight.”
South Tahoe scored the first six points of the second quarter, and kept Whittell off the board until guard Ali Copsy made a jump shot with 5:05 left in the half. Copsy’s basket accounted for all of the Warriors’ second-quarter points as the Vikings opened up a 27-8 lead at the break.
“We just tried to deny the passing lanes and have good defensive pressure,” Neiger said.
In the second half, South Tahoe continued to stifle Whittell while extending its lead. The Vikings kept the Warriors scoreless for more than six minutes to start the third quarter, and took a commanding 40-11 advantage into the final frame after holding Whittell without a field goal for the entire period .
“The best thing tonight was the effort — they didn’t give up even if they were out of control,” Esposito said. “They stood in there and fought even when the score was out of reach.”
The Vikings rolled to a 27-point victory, their most decisive so far this year. South Tahoe has now won seven straight games against Whittell dating back to the 2010-11 season — the teams didn’t play last year after the Warriors changed leagues.
Barcellos scored a game-high 12 points in the win, and was one of nine South Tahoe players to get on the score sheet — guard Drue Chapman added nine points, guard Zoe Mosedale finished with eight and guard Ally King had five. For Whittell, Sharon led the way with five points and Copsy added four.
“It was good — everybody got significant time and we got scoring from just about everyone,” Neiger said. “It’s nice when you see your substitutes come in and execute.”
South Tahoe took a two-game winning streak into its Div. I-A Northern League opener at Truckee last night, a game originally scheduled for last Friday. The Vikings beat Wooster (Reno, Nev.) 43-29 on the road Saturday — King and forward Catherine Baghdikian each scored nine points, forward Andi Embry had eight and forward Valeria Garcia added six.
“We had to get some momentum going into league — we have two huge games coming up,” Neiger said. “A little confidence and momentum never hurt.”
Whittell wrapped up play at the Whittell Invitational Tournament with a pair of losses — a 73-39 defeat against Fall River (McArthur, Calif.) last Friday and a six-point loss to Silver Stage (Silver Springs, Nev.) the following day. The Warriors begin Div. IV West League play at Pyramid Lake this Friday looking to end a six-game slide — they host Coleville the following day at 2 p.m.
“We’ve had such a hard preseason — everybody we played was tough,” Esposito said. “I hope that carries over into our league — and that we can make the adjustments that we need to make.”