South Tahoe girls b-ball drops home opener against North Valleys
The South Tahoe girls basketball team waited nearly three weeks to make its home debut — and will have to wait longer for a victory on its home court. The Vikings fell behind early and ultimately couldn’t recover in a 57-40 loss to North Valleys (Reno, Nev.) last Saturday for their second defeat in as many days.
“We had lots of opportunities, but there were a lot of missed layups and missed putbacks,” Vikings head coach Mike Neiger said. “On the other side, we just gave up too many easy opportunities — it was not being able to stay in front of our opponents and giving up drives though the lane.”
South Tahoe’s home opener on Saturday afternoon got off to a less-than-ideal start. Late in the first quarter, the Vikings trailed 16-2 — North Valleys (6-3) sandwiched a pair of 8-0 runs around a putback by STHS forward Alicia Rea.
“Looking at our body language, these girls were tired — mentally as well as physically,” Neiger said. “I’m not surprised they had a letdown from the previous night’s tough league loss. We came out flat.”
After falling in a 14-point hole, South Tahoe (4-7) settled in against the Panthers’ full-court press. The Vikings closed the first quarter with six straight points, then scored the first eight points of the second quarter to tie the game — a layup from guard Drue Chapman capped the 14-0 extended run and made it 16-16 with 4:30 left in the half.
“It shows a lot to be able to come back,” Neiger said. “We got it back, and it looked like we calmed down and were good — the next thing I know, it was 32-16.”
North Valleys scored its first points of the quarter on the ensuing possession — and that basket sparked a 16-0 run that put the visitors back in control. Panthers guard Elaine Johnson hit a jumper just before the halftime buzzer that sent the Vikings into the break trailing 34-19.
South Tahoe held North Valleys to six points in the third quarter, and pulled to within 11 on a free throw from guard Ally King in the last second of the frame. But the Panthers opened the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run to end any chances of a Vikings’ comeback — after the run, South Tahoe trailed by at least 15 points the rest of the way.
Forward Catherine Baghdikian led the Vikings with nine points in the loss, and guard Bailey Barcellos finished with eight. King added seven and Chapman had six.
The Vikings played well for stretches against North Valleys, but didn’t play with enough consistency to beat the Panthers. Lapses on both ends of the court made the difference in the 17-point defeat.
“Every possession is huge and we’re trying to make that clear,” Neiger said.
On Friday night, South Tahoe took defending Div. I-A state champion Lowry to the wire — but ultimately came up short. The Vikings lost to the Buckaroos 38-32 on the road for their first league defeat of the season.
“That one hurt — we were on the cusp at their house,” Neiger said. “That one was hard to stomach.”
South Tahoe trailed by three after the first quarter, and faced a 19-12 deficit at halftime. The Vikings were down to Lowry by nine points headed into the fourth quarter, and had a handful of missed opportunities in the eventual six-point defeat — including an 8-for-25 night from the free-throw line.
“If you can go to the defending champ and take them down, the rest of the league takes notice,” Neiger said. “But we get another shot at them and that’s good.”
King scored a team-high eight points in the loss to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Barcellos finished with seven points and Chapman added five — Rea and guard Zoe Mosedale had four points apiece.
South Tahoe returns to action Jan. 2, when it hosts Elko in a league contest. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“We need to get back down to basics in practice for the next couple weeks — ball handling, passing, free throws and just playing smart,” Neiger said. “We have to clean up some fundamental stuff and little mental things — but I’m happy with where we are and where we’re moving.”