PHOTOS: South Tahoe Vikings sweep Sparks Railroaders on senior night (video)
Payton Galli had his hands on his hips.
Matt Cain had his arms crossed.
Bryan Schouten yawned.
McCallan Castles threw up his arms.
Ruzzell Valiente studied his fingernails.
And Sparks still couldn’t score. Nor did the Railroaders try to.
This wasn’t your typical senior night basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 6, at South Tahoe High School.
Down 27-14, Sparks opened the second half by holding the ball while the Vikings sat back in a zone.
Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce.
With no shot clock, for 3 minutes and 30 seconds Sparks junior point guard Michael Fregillana dribbled uncontested until finally Vikings head coach David Finnegan told his players to go attack and make their opponent play.
“They tried the 1950s style of hold the ball and have a 10-0 game,” Finnegan said. “Fortunately for us, we made a couple of steals, made them turn the ball over, got a lead and then we went to stall ball, too. We sat there while they wasted over 3 minutes of our lives.”
Finnegan understood why the Railroaders would apply a stall tactic. They took the court with just seven players and they were completely over-matched by the Vikings.
“They lacked depth and knew they couldn’t run on us,” Finnegan said. “It was a good strategy for them to try and keep it close. But it generally doesn’t last and it didn’t today.”
The Vikings were frustrated, and irritated, but in the end they dominated their opponent as expected.
“We played the way we’re supposed to play and they apparently didn’t want to play offense,” Castles said. “But we still got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters. We did what we had to do, and it wasn’t playing basketball, it was just standing there.”
The Vikings eventually pulled away for a 49-27 victory capping a night where the girls kicked it off with a 43-31 win.
Castles led the Vikings with nine points while Cain and Valiente added eight apiece and Kevin Lehmann and Logan Heil each scored six points.
Hailey Naccarato scored 14 of the Lady Vikings 19 first-half points and finished with a game-high 17 to lead South Tahoe to its second win in its last three games.
The Vikings (4-20, 3-12 Northern League) broke open a close game at halftime and pulled away.
Maegan Perez added 12 points, Teagan Williamson had five and freshman Eva Perry had four, including what Vikings head coach Mike Neiger described as an “amazing” putback off an offensive rebound.
South Tahoe will finish its regular season Saturday at home against Churchill County. The Lady Vikings season will come to an end while the boys (11-9, 9-6 Northern) will head to the playoffs win or lose and will likely face Spring Creek as a fourth or fifth seed Thursday, Feb. 15, in the first round at Elko.