Viking girls keep pace in playoff chase |

Viking girls keep pace in playoff chase

South Tahoe’s girls kept pace in a seemingly wide-open Division II in Northern Nevada 4A basketball, splitting their weekend home doubleheader.

The Vikings, who have three division wins this season after winning zero the past three years, lost 61-41 to Fallon on Friday, but rebounded for a 41-22 win over Hug on Saturday. South Tahoe is 6-13 overall, but 3-3 against the division after the weekend, and still in the playoff chase.

Fallon improved to 3-1 in the division, 9-5 overall with the win to keep pace ahead of Douglas and South Tahoe. On Saturday, though, the Vikings completed the season sweep of Hug, the same team South Tahoe beat on Jan. 4 for the team’s first conference win in three years. This time, though, South Tahoe didn’t need a buzzer beater for the difference.

The Vikings return to action on Tuesday with a 5 p.m. game at Douglas, then play Carson at 3:15 p.m. Saturday in South Lake Tahoe.

After a tough week on the road, South Tahoe’s boys got back on the winning track with a hoops sweep in a two-game homestand Friday and Saturday.

The Vikings, who lost at Reno and forced an overtime win against Wooster during the week before semester finals, were a little more comfortable at home over the weekend. On Friday, South Tahoe beat Fallon 74-55, dropping the Greenwave to 9-6 overall, 2-2 in Northern Nevada 4A Division II play, then completed the regular-season sweep of Hug with an 82-51 win Saturday.

“The Fallon game, they’re just as talented as we are, and I think we were really fortunate to win,” said South Tahoe head coach Tom Orlich, whose team improved to 17-4 overall, 5-1 in the division with the two wins.

Against Fallon, South Tahoe used superior second-half execution to pull away from the dangerous Greenwave. The Vikings led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter, but built the lead to six by halftime, and to eight by the end of the third before running away with the win. Travis McCollum had 14 points to lead five Vikings in double figures on Friday, and Matt Williams, Andy Butcher, John Giannoni III and Bob Larmore all finished with 12. Aarik Wilson led Fallon with 15 points, and Kenny Redner scored 13 in the loss.

On Saturday, Hug never challenged after falling behind 25-8 after one quarter. Several Vikings stepped up and made good shots, which complemented South Tahoe’s relentless defensive pressure.

“I think our pressure was too much for them,” Orlich said. “We’re probably a lot more talented than Hug, and when you man up somebody like that, it’s tough to overcome it.”

Butcher, who canned three 3-pointers for South Tahoe, led the Vikings with 19 points against Hug, and Giannoni and reserve center Chris Ortiz added 12 each. Sioni Kilioni led Hug with 16 points, as the Hawks dropped to 8-13 overall, 2-5 in Division II.

South Tahoe next takes on Douglas in a 7 p.m. game on Friday in Minden.

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South Tahoe’s junior varsity split the weekend’s home games. On Friday, the Vikings defeated Fallon 59-45 behind 19 points from Larry Martinez. On Saturday, Peter Chiarpotti scored 14 to lead the Vikings, but South Tahoe fell 51-48 to Hug.

Whittell boys fast-breaking toward lead

Whittell High’s boys basketball team improved to 3-1 – just a game out of first place – in Nevada 3A Division II play with Friday’s 53-49 win at Hawthorne.

Steve Maltase’s Warriors made up a one-point halftime deficit, then never trailed to the bigger Serpents to improve to 7-8 overall. Whittell can improve its position this week with wins in Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Manogue (4-0 in division play) and Friday’s home meeting with Incline (2-3 in Division II).

“They made some big shots down the stretch, but we, fortunately, countered,” Maltase said of Friday’s game.

Avery Norman again led Whittell in scoring, this time with 14 points, and 5-10 senior center Todd Echan chipped in 11, and valuable defense. Echan helped the Warriors hold Eric Bales, Hawthorne’s 6-4 senior center, to just 10 points.

“Todd just did a good job of playing him,” Maltase said. “I think with Todd, he gives us an advantage in the post because he’s quicker than other post players.”

Whittell’s boys have started quicker this season than last. The Warriors were 1-3 this time last year, and have reversed their fortunes. They trail only Manogue and Lovelock in the standings.

“It’s really fun to be part of the mix,” Maltase said. “We’ve just got to stay focused, because every game’s going to be a battle.”

Hawthorne girls 92, Whittell 16

Hawthorne showed Whittell why many picked the Serpents as the best team in 3A girls hoops, beating the Warriors 92-16 Friday in Mineral County.

Hawthorne combined its height advantage with a sticky half-court press to dismantle Whittell. The outmanned Warriors – whose tallest player is 5-10 – tried to compete with the Serpents and 6-2 Ashlee Orndorff on the boards, but fell to 0-4 in Northern Nevada 3A Division II play, 0-12 overall.

“Their half-court press was one of the determining factors – we had a lot of difficulty with that – and their height,” said Whittell head coach Lindsay Wines.

Orndorff scored 29 points to lead Hawthorne. Caitlin Fagan had a team-high nine points for Whittell, while Alisha Roth, Courtney Benvenuto and Nichole Wasson tried to keep the much-taller Orndorff off the boards. While Whittell couldn’t pull the upset, the Warriors impressed Wines with their tenacity.

“One thing I liked with most of the kids was even though we were down by 60 points, they were playing like we were down six,” Wines said.

Whittell returns to action on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game at Manogue, and returns home to take on Incline at 6 p.m. Friday.

South Tahoe Nordic mines medals at league meet

Three South Tahoe High cross country varsity skiers brought home medals from Saturday’s all-league meet, as the girls and boys finished third and fourth, respectively.

Truckee, North Tahoe, and Nevada Union, from Nevada City, Calif., edged South Tahoe’s boys in the standings, while the girls followed powers North Tahoe and Truckee. The all-league meet awarded medals to the top 15 finishers in the 6-kilometer classical-technique at the Auburn Ski Club meet at Boreal Ridge.

“I think because we didn’t get on snow at all last week, basically, that really hurt us,” said South Tahoe head Nordic coach Lynn Harriman. “They dealt with it really well. I’m really happy with them in that respect. Every week, they are all getting better, especially the beginners.”

Emily Robins of North Tahoe won the girls race in 22:54.1, ahead of teammate Rory Bosio and Truckee’s Betsy Van Blarigan. South Tahoe’s Lisa Orr finished just out of medal contention, 16th in 29:37. Denise Bogard was 18th in 30:53.1. STHS junior varsity racers Samantha Urch and Dena Tam both won JV medals, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively.

Marin St. Michel was South Tahoe’s top female finisher, taking 13th on Saturday for a medal. St. Michel finished in 27 minutes, 56.0 seconds.

“Every week, she’s been improving her times and improving her times, and she did really well,” Harriman said.

Cory Martin, who had South Tahoe’s best finish of the season – a fourth a week ago – was again the team’s top skier, finishing sixth. Nevada Union’s Ian Case won the Tahoe Basin Ski League race, finishing the 6 kilometers in 18:24.6 to edge Truckee’s Louis Van Blarigan (second, 19:19.5) and North Tahoe’s Tony Bozio.

Jeff Koeck was 13th in 21:51.3 for South Tahoe, Ryan Nibouar 22nd in 24:08.4 and Adam Matzinger 29th in 29:26.5. Graham St. Michel led South Tahoe’s JV boys, finishing ninth in 26:33, ahead of teammates Steve Moore, Adam Wolfe, John Golden, Ryan MacLeod and Amir Misaghi.

Martin, Koeck and Graham St. Michel won medals for their performances.

The Nordic Vikings continue their seasons on Friday with a freestyle race at the Tahoe Donner cross country center.

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