Vikings claim third in Amador Classic
Not bad for a weekend’s work.
The South Tahoe High’s boys basketball team capped a successful showing in the Amador Valley Classic with a third-place finish, defeating the host school 63-56 Saturday evening.
South Tahoe’s Josh David led all scorers with 33 points, propelling the Viking forward to all-tournament honors along with teammate John Giannoni III. The Vikings faced Amador Valley in last year’s tournament, winning the championship game in an overtime thriller.
“I think we played better against Amador Valley this weekend than we did last year,” said Viking coach Tom Orlich. “We executed very well against them. Our depth and shot selection were the keys to the win.”
Amador Valley employed a sagging man-to-man defense in an attempt to force the Vikings into an outside shooting exhibition. South Tahoe remained patient, however, putting its half-court offense in motion to set up several close jumpers and layups.
With three minutes remaining in the first half, the Viking bench came up huge, shutting down Amador Valley’s first stringers to extend a four-point lead to a 37-27 halftime margin.
Amador Valley couldn’t make much of a dent into the lead in the second half, as the South Tahoe bench continued to effectively spell the Viking starters.
“We always knew our bench had the potential to play that well,” said Viking assistant coach Bill Bartelson. “Going into the tournament, we considered our bench one of our strengths. It was a good opportunity for them to step up, and that’s exactly what they did.”
“Overall, it was a good three-game tournament for our guys,” said Orlich, whose team improves to 7-2 after the weekend’s action. “We might have beaten the best team in the tournament our first game, though.”
In their tournament opener against Cleveland of Reseda, Calif., late Thursday night, South Tahoe must have thought it was playing a rematch with John Muir of Pasadena. The athletic Cleveland squad jumped out to an early 10-point lead, but South Tahoe kept its poise to rally for a 84-80 victory.
“They beat Muir in a scrimmage earlier in the year, so we knew they were going to be real good,” Orlich said. “They were probably the best team we’ve played this year. They looked like a real good Vegas team. The kids just played hard for 32 minutes and were able to sustain all the rallies they put on us.”
South Tahoe led 37-32 at half and 65-64 after three periods.
With the game in doubt, David took over, scoring 11 of his 20 points. His 3-point field goal in the final minutes extended a one-point Viking lead to four.
“The kids are playing good, quality competition that’s making them step up and become better players,” Orlich said.
Giannoni III also scored 20 points for South Tahoe. Also reaching double figures for the Vikings were Adam Williams with 12 and Billy Doughty and Tim Sprinkles with 10.
In the semifinals Friday against Grant, South Tahoe suffered its only loss of the tournament and just its second loss of the season. The Vikings could not handle the aggressive, full-court pressure of a taller Grant squad, falling behind early and never recovering in a 72-51 loss to the eventual tournament champions. Grant topped Rancho Cordova late Saturday night in the tournament’s finale.
Down 10 points at the half, South Tahoe could not seem to follow offensive conversions with defensive stops in the early stages of the second half.
“We didn’t play very well [against Grant],” Orlich said. “No one really stepped up for us. They beat us in all phases of the game.”
Grant’s frontcourt featured three players over 6-foot-6, a size differential which translated into a rebounding advantage and several second-chance opportunities for the Sacramento-area squad.
“Grant had more discipline than any of the teams we faced,” Bartelson said. “They forced several turnovers out of us and chose their shots carefully on offense.”
South Tahoe next travels to San Diego Dec. 26-31 to compete in the Nike Above-The-Rim Tournament.
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