South Tahoe girls b-ball notches first win, beats Fernley 38-30 in league opener
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — After a trying start to the season, the South Tahoe girls basketball team began Div. I-A Northern League play by tasting its first success. The Vikings beat Fernley 38-30 at the Blue Gym on Saturday, Dec. 12, riding a fast start and stout defense to their first victory.
“They’re 1-0, and that’s what matters,” Vikings coach Mike Neiger said. “It’s a good start to league.”
South Tahoe (1-5, 1-0 I-A Northern) opened up a 14-4 lead after the first quarter and kept Fernley (2-3, 0-1) at a distance the rest of the way to deliver its first win. In the opening frame, the Vikings had four different players score and repeatedly broke down the Vaqueros’ defense with passes into the paint.
“They came out with good energy and had a nice first quarter,” Neiger said. “We had nice ball movement and were creating good looks.”
A basket from Claudia Janese with 12.2 seconds left in the first quarter capped a 7-0 run and put South Tahoe ahead by 10 points. The Vikings held Fernley scoreless for the last 3:46 behind man-to-man defense that stifled the Vaqueros throughout the game.
“We switched to man-to-man, and that lit a fire under them,” Neiger said. “We didn’t really stand around — you tend to stand around when you’re in zone. When we’re engaged on an opponent, it keeps our momentum going.”
South Tahoe opened up an 18-6 lead with 5:31 left in the first half on a pair of Annie Buchser free throws. Fernley closed that gap with 10 straight points, but Janese scored two baskets inside in a 27-second span late in the second quarter to keep the Vikings in front 22-16 at the break.
In a defensive-minded third quarter, the Vikings outscored the Vaqueros 7-5 to take an eight-point lead into the final frame. Then South Tahoe survived despite offensive struggles and free throw woes in the last eight minutes.
South Tahoe scored its first points of the fourth quarter on a Janese layup with 2:35 to play, a shot that made it 31-26. The Vikings stayed in front by at least five points in the final minutes despite missing their first eight free-throw attempts — they made seven of nine from the stripe in the last 1:23 to seal the win.
Janese led South Tahoe with nine points and nine rebounds in the win. Junior Drue Chapman scored eight points to go along with four assists, senior Bailey Barcellos finished with eight points and Buchser added seven points and eight rebounds — junior Maia Smith grabbed seven boards.
“I liked our intensity,” Neiger said. “They were just on a different level with their energy tonight.”
For Fernley, sophomore Hailee Edgar scored a game-high 12 points of 5-of-11 shooting and senior Alex Hogan added nine points. The loss marked the Vaqueros’ second straight defeat by a 38-30 margin — they closed out the High Sierra Winter Challenge six days earlier with a loss to Incline by the same score.
On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the Vikings couldn’t overcome a slow start in a 48-35 defeat to Wooster at the Blue Gym. South Tahoe trailed 15-4 after the first quarter and was behind 15 points at the break en route to a fifth straight loss to start the season.
Smith led South Tahoe with 10 points against the Colts, Buchser scored seven, junior Zoe Mosdale finished with six and Barcellos added five. Wooster had five players score at least six points, including a game-high 11 from senior Raechel Freshman.
South Tahoe returns to action at home Tuesday, Dec. 22, with a league game against Dayton. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.