Vikes ‘manage’ win in Classic
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
Mac Cerceo wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Left off the South Tahoe High boys’ basketball roster several weeks ago, the senior guard showed up at the next practice and inquired about becoming the team manager.
“When he came in the next day and said he wanted to be manager, my mind was made up right there that he made the team,” said Vikings’ coach Chris Proctor.
Cerceo’s perseverance and determination paid off for the Vikings on Friday night as the “team manager” helped contain Bradshaw Christian’s top scorer in the second half of South Tahoe’s only Viking Classic win.
Cerceo, with some double team assistance from senior Tony Stagnaro, contained Josiah Colomar to six points in the final 16 minutes after he lit up the Vikings for 17 in the first half. As a result, the Vikings rallied from a six-point deficit to win 56-45.
“Defense is the most unnoticed (part of the game),” Cerceo said. “That’s the one way you can always contribute. You may not be the best shooter, but you can always work your butt off on defense and keep someone else from scoring.”
Stagnaro triggered a third-quarter run with six points and Vince Capellino threw down a momentum-swinging dunk to get the offense in gear.
Danny Vallejo scored all 13 of his points in the final quarter to deny Bradshaw Christian any chance at a comeback. Capellino added another crowd-pleasing slam in the final period and finished with a team-high 18 points. Kyle Dupree contributed eight points and was a constant presence on the boards.
“Vince wants to dunk so much in a game I couldn’t help but smile when Tony threw that bounce to him for a dunk.”
The win came a couple hours after the Vikings suffered a frustrating 41-39 season-opening loss to Galt.
After leading by as many as 13 points in the first half, turnovers and shaky foul shooting enabled Galt to fight back for the win. Stagnaro nearly forced overtime when his jumper from the foul line found the bottom of the net, but an official ruled the shot didn’t leave the senior’s fingertips until after the final buzzer.
South Tahoe led 39-37 with 51.7 seconds left, but a turnover on an inbound pass and a subsequent layup by Galt tied the score. An over-and-back infraction gave Galt a chance to go ahead, and the visitors capitalized on a game-winning left-handed layup with 5.8 remaining.
Players from both teams needed to be separated early in the final period following a hard foul; a player from each team was ejected.
Vallejo led the Vikings with 12 points, with Chris Klug scoring eight and Capellino seven.
STHS only made two field goals and 8 of 15 free throws in the second half.
On Saturday, the Vikings made another run at a comeback victory in a 44-41 defeat to Soquel.
South Tahoe trailed 21-12 at intermission but used a nine-point edge in the third quarter to create a tie at 26. Soquel rebuilt a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but a feisty group of Viking reserves gave the home team a chance to steal the win. Down one, the Vikings missed a potential go-ahead layup and later on a three pointer that would have tied the score.
Capellino and Stagnaro led the Vikings with 18 and nine points, respectively.
Playing their fourth game in two days that evening, the Vikings were outmanned by a disciplined Bear River squad.
Bear River built a 30-13 halftime lead, using away-from-the-ball screens to free up their shooters for layups.
The Vikings, however, adjusted at halftime and won the second half 12-11. Sophomore Thomas Eidam played a big role in stabilizing the Vikings’ defense by holding Bear River’s top scorer Patrick Scott to five second-half points.
“I brought him up because I knew we’d be missing some guys,” Proctor said. “He’s one who has lots of potential. He goes really hard.”
Vallejo was the only Viking in double figures with 10 points. Capellino scored seven.
“If we make our free throws, we’re 3-1 right now,” Proctor said.
South Tahoe (1-3) plays host to El Dorado on Tuesday night.