Viking girls can’t hold second-half lead in loss to rival Wolverines
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe girls’ basketball coach Mike Neiger could clearly see a different outcome Saturday against Truckee.
He grimaced while talking about the last 10 minutes of the game where his Vikings surrendered a lead and lost 39-32 in front of their home fans.
“Free throws win games, that’s it right there,” Neiger said. “3 of 14, we make a few of those, we’re up by one or two and we’re the ones getting fouled and they’re on the chase. If you don’t make free throws, games slip away like that one.”
South Tahoe held the lead for most of the game.
Kaitlyn Janese helped the Vikings start strong by driving to the basket. She drew fouls while also making a couple of buckets. She scored six of her eight points in the first eight minutes.
Teagan Williamson took on most of the offensive load from there. She scored a game-high 14 points, eight in the second half.
Williamson scored a pair of baskets in the second period as both teams had difficulty hitting shots.
South Tahoe led 16-15 at halftime.
The Vikings looked like they could pull away in the third quarter. Williamson hit a pair of baskets and Hailey Naccarato drained a 3-point bomb to give South Tahoe a 23-16 advantage.
But the points dried up for the Vikings and they didn’t score over the final few minutes of the third period, but still led 23-19 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings would have had a slightly larger lead had they done better than just 2 of 9 at the free throw line through the first three periods.
South Tahoe held off the Wolverines for a few minutes in the fourth, but Ava Seelenfreund drained a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 27.
Naccarato hit a free throw a few seconds later but Truckee took the lead for good on an Emily Monson drive to the basket with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left in the game.
Truckee (11-3, 4-3 Northern) had pulled out to a 33-28 lead when Williamson banked home a 10-foot runner. The South Tahoe senior made a steal after a quick timeout on the next play and went coast-to-coast for a layup to make it 33-32 with 1:00 left.
“Kaitlyn played well and Teagan was running the floor and I love that,” Neiger said. “But I need 32 minutes out of the team. If there’s any lapse it’ll get us.”
Naccarato finished with six points and Layne Hembree and Kayleen Conard each added buckets for the Vikings (4-9, 3-4 Northern).
South Tahoe was coming off a 53-39 victory a few days earlier over North Valleys.
Naccarato scored 16 points, Janese added 15 points and 15 rebounds and Williamson scored eight in the victory.
The Vikings also took care of the ball and had just 11 turnovers. They had 17 against Truckee that is not all that bad considering they had over 40 a few games ago.
“We had good energy and we were talking on defense,” Meiger said. “We cut down on our turnovers so we valued possession and that’s one of our themes this year is to value possession. We had 11 against North Valleys and we scored over 50 so there is a correlation. Take care of the ball and good things happen. We’ve just gotta come back Monday, work hard and show up Tuesday and get a win.”
South Tahoe plays at Sparks (0-7, 0-6 Northern) at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will host Elko (3-10, 2-5 Northern) at 6 p.m. Friday.