South Tahoe wins home tourney
To reflect the differences between high school and college basketball,perhaps the best label for South Tahoe’s ball-swallowing defense is the”32 Minutes of Heck.”
Those 32 minutes proved too much for three California teams – SantaTheresa, Soquel and most lately Victor Valley – after the Vikings sweptto the championship of their home-court Viking Rotary Classictournament. South Tahoe clinched the tournament title on Saturday nightwith a 63-49 win over a game Victor Valley of Victorville, Calif.”From what I saw, it looked like their offense was pretty much theiroffensive rebounds, and I tried to take that away,” said South Tahoesenior forward Travis McCollum, who sealed his tournament MVP statuswith a 14-point, 11-rebound effort on Saturday. “It worked out for me.The ball was bouncing my way, and I came up with it.”
While McCollum hit the boards, senior guard Matt Williams ignited theoffense, matching McCollum with a team-high 14 points on 5-7 shooting from the field. Williams secured a spot on the all-tournament team, along with backcourt mate John Giannoni III and forward Tim Sprinkles. Sprinkles and Giannoni contributed to a smothering Vikings defense that held the Jackrabbits to one field goal in the second quarter. Hot shooting from Williams, though, sparked the senior’s confidence as well as that of the whole team.”That helped a lot,” said Williams, who nailed both of his shots fromthe floor in the first quarter. “We just started playing more as a teamand that opened up my shot.”
Giannoni had 11 points and Sprinkles eight, but both were even moreimportant in spurring the Vikings defense. The Jackrabbits crawled backinto the game, cutting the 31-16 halftime margin to six by the end ofthe third quarter. But over the final eight minutes, South Tahoe allowedVictor Valley just three more baskets from the floor, outscoring thevisiting victims, 23-15.
“Actually, I thought we played well for three quarters,” said SouthTahoe head coach Tom Orlich. “One, two and four, and I thought in thethird, we didn’t do all that great for a combination of factors.
“We had spurts where I thought we played good, and there were times when I thought we could have done better. We had some breakdowns in the half-court offense, things just didn’t go as well as we hoped. We still don’t have everybody playing as well as we’d like. We’re trying to play more as a team. That’s a real goal of ours.”
A big part of the defensive effort was Sprinkles, who effectively putthe clamps on Victor Valley senior guard Ryan Dillon. Dillon, an all-tournament performer with unlimited range, had torched Douglas for 24 points on Friday to help the Jackrabbits advance to the final round. But he didn’t make a shot in the first half on Saturday. Dillon finished with 13 points, all in the second half, and earned an all-tournamentslot along with teammates Edmound Elzy (18 points against South Tahoe)and Corey Stinson.
“He’s a great athlete, and my job is just to stay with him, basically bea blanket to him,” Sprinkles said. “It’s all about the defense.”
“Tim really just dogged him,” Orlich said. “That was his job, he knew itgoing in, and he just did a great job on him. I thought that was one of the keys of the game. The other was containing (Elzy).”
Saturday highlighted another dimension of South Tahoe’s defense. TheVikings forced first- and second-round opponents Santa Theresa andSoquel into a ridiculous number of turnovers, then simply denied VictorValley good shots. The Jackrabbits shot 4-of-24 in the second and fourthquarters combined, and were .500 from the floor in their third-quartercomeback.
“I don’t think we turned the ball over a lot, they just played good defense,” said Victorville head coach Matt Denny.
The varsity, though, wasn’t the only South Tahoe team to win a title inthe home rotary classic. The Vikings JV wrapped its title on Saturday with a 54-51 win over Carson in the championship game. Vikings guardMatt Mora scored 19 points in the final game to lock the tournament MVP title. Teammates Larry Martinez and Aaron Shively, both of whom helped propel the JV Vikings to the 3-0 title run, both earned achievement awards during the tournament.
Breakout I:Viking Rotary Classic (Dec. 2-4, South Tahoe High School)All-tournament teamMost Valuable Player: Travis McCollum, senior forward, South TahoeAll-tournament:Tim Sprinkles, senior forward, South TahoeJohn Giannoni III, senior guard South TahoeMatt Williams, senior guard, South TahoeBrandon Devine, senior guard, AtwaterMatt Dolen, senior center, Santa TheresaTri Le, senior guard, Santa TheresaShucri Janini, junior forward, LelandSean Paul, senior center, ElkoJosh Beverage, senior forward, SoquelJared Petersen, senior center, DouglasSeth Lee, junior forward, DouglasCorey Stinson, senior guard, Victor ValleyEdmound Elzy, senior forward, Victor ValleyRyan Dillon, senior guard, Victor ValleySouth Tahoe 63, Victor Valley 49South Tahoe: Williams 5-7 (3-4) 14, McCollum 4-11 (6-8) 14, Giannoni 3-3(5-7) 11, Butcher 2-5 (6-7) 10, Sprinkles 3-6 (2-2) 8, Larmore 2-4 (0-2)4, Ortiz 1-2 (0-0) 2, Totals 20-38 (22-30) 63Victor Valley: Elzy 7-11 (4-6) 18, Stinson 2-7 (6-7) 10, Dillon 3-13(2-5) 10, Alexander 1-6 (1-3) 3, Barron 1-1 (0-0) 2, Kilgore 1-2 (0-0)2, Jones 1-2 (0-0) 2, Collins 0-0 (2-2) 2, Totals 16-42 (15-23) 493-point shooting: South Tahoe 1-6 (Williams 1-3, McCollum 0-1, Ortiz0-1, Giannoni 0-1) Victor Valley 2-9 (Dillon 2-8, Alexander 0-1);Rebounds: South Tahoe, McCollum 11; Victor Valley, Elzy 7; Steals: SouthTahoe 6 (Giannoni, Williams 2), Victor Valley 5 (Stinson 4); Fouled out:Victor Valley, Elzy, Stinson. Technical fouls: STHS coach Orlich, Butcher, Elzy.
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