South Tahoe topples Pioneer, Galt at Classic |

South Tahoe topples Pioneer, Galt at Classic

Jeremy Evans

South Tahoe High’s boys’ basketball team won pretty in their season opener on Tuesday against Damonte Ranch. They found a way to win ugly in the first round of the Viking Classic.

Casey Curcie scored a game-high 23 points and Conor Freeman added 16 as South Tahoe beat Pioneer 73-64 Thursday afternoon at South Tahoe High School.

“We didn’t play that well,” coach Derek Allister said. “It got very physical and we didn’t respond very well. There was a lot of talking out there and we haven’t had to do deal with that yet. As you could see it affected Jared (Wood) quite a bit. He didn’t really play like Jared until the end there. They were very good in taking us out of our game.”

South Tahoe (2-0) didn’t gain control of the game until midway through the third quarter when Curcie scored four straight baskets to give the Vikings a 55-43 lead. The 12-point margin was South Tahoe’s largest lead. Curcie also added one of his four three-pointers earlier in the quarter. Wood scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter.

“Casey is one of the best players in the Northern 4A,” Allister said. “He doesn’t always play like it, but he’s a very good player. We just didn’t come out very hard. I think the other team was overmatched. But it was an early game and the kids just got out of school and had to come here and play a game.”

The Vikings, who opened the tournament with their 2 p.m. game, shot 49 percent from the field (31-of-63) and were 9 of 25 from behind the three-point line. Pioneer came out strong, opening up a 15-10 lead in the first quarter before South Tahoe chipped away at that lead before halftime. Freeman hit a key three-pointer that put the Vikings up 18-16 early in the second quarter and they didn’t trail again.

The Patriots were led by Kellen Simmons and Rudy Elizondo, who both finished with 18 points. Jose Gomez chipped in with 11 points for Pioneer, which had only five players score. South Tahoe held the Patriots to just 34 percent shooting.

South Tahoe won its second game of the tournament later Thursday night with a 69-56-decision against Galt. Wood scored 28 points and hit seven three-pointers, including six straight in the third and fourth quarters to break the game open.

The Vikings, who hit 12 treys in the game, led by as many as 18 points. Dan Tinlin added 12 points in the win.

Since a team dropped out, there are only seven teams in the tournament. Each team will play a minimum of three games in the three-day tournament but there won’t be a champion.

“The key is to just play as many games as possible right now,” Allister said. “I’m really pleased with where we are at. We have some good players at skill positions. We have guys who can shoot it, even though we didn’t shoot that well today, and we can have guys who can pass it. The one thing we still have to work on is our defense and getting more physical, but I think that will come.”

The Vikings play Elko tonight at 7:30 p.m., then take on Soquel on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Rocklin at 3:30 p.m.

Viking Classic

Thursday’s Results

South Tahoe 73, Pioneer 64

Rocklin 68, Elko 37

El Camino 91, Soquel 45

South Tahoe 69, Galt 56

Today’s Games

Elko vs. Soquel, 2 p.m.

El Camino vs. Rocklin, 3:45 p.m.

Pioneer vs. Galt, 5:45 p.m.

South Tahoe vs. Elko, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Soquel vs. South Tahoe, 10 a.m.

Elko vs. Pioneer, 11:45 a.m.

Galt vs. El Camino, 1:45 p.m.

South Tahoe vs. Rocklin, 3:30 p.m.

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