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Vikings clinch Division II title outright

Michael Traum

Six points in the second half.

That’s all the Reno Huskies could manage, as South Tahoe’s boys basketball team clinched an 11th title in the past 12 years with a 63-40 win over Reno on Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe.

“It’s big load off the kids’ shoulders. They felt some pressure because they wanted to win another title. And we won it pretty convincingly this year. It’s nice,” said Tahoe coach Tom Orlich.

While the Vikes (11-0 division) earned a share of the Division II title with its win Friday at Carson, the win over second-place Reno (8-3) secured a first-round zone home game next Tuesday, when the Vikes will be the No. 1 divisional seed.

But it didn’t come easy, as Tahoe held just a three-point halftime advantage over the Huskies.

The Vikings opened the contest on an 11-0 run, as Aaron Buckman nailed two treys while Alan Case buried his own from the half moon and Travis McCollum collected a lay in. But Reno freshman Alex Gamboa hit for his team-high nine points all in the first 16 minutes, keeping his team close. The Vikes uncharacteristically traded baskets with Reno, as defensive pressure gave way to offensive execution.

“We scored well throughout the whole game. But we didn’t stop them from scoring in the first half and (consequently) exchanged baskets,” Orlich said.

Added Reno coach Pete Padgett, “I’m not disappointed with our effort. I thought our kids did what we asked of them for the first half.”

Tahoe hit stride in the third quarter, outscoring Reno 13-2. The Huskies actually cut the lead to one as the period opened, 39-38, but a clean Greg Bruso elbow jumper and Buckman’s fourth three-ball extended the lead to double digits. Content with a 13-point lead, Tahoe opened the final frame in a stall pattern, holding the ball for nearly four minutes, and picked apart Reno’s token zone pressure. The Huskies, who finally went to a man defense, managed just two shots from the floor and two free throws in final 16 minutes, going more than 10 minutes without a point.

“We knew they would have trouble guarding us in a man defense. They were hoping we would go into a cold spell shooting. I figured why risk it,” Orlich said. “We’re going to play to win. Plus, it’s good practice for the playoffs, to make good decisions and figure out how to win.”

Buckman finished with 14 points, while Casey Dowling added 13, 7-8 from the line, and six rebounds. Case had 12 with three treys and McCollum added five points with eight boards.

The Vikes will look to complete the perfect league season on Friday at Fallon.

South Tahoe’s girls basketball team played an improved game in a 76-26 loss to Reno on Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe was down just 22-13 after the first period and 25 at the half. In the season’s previous meeting, Tahoe (0-11 division) didn’t score in a 25-0 first quarter and ended up losing 91-25 to the Huskies (10-1).

“We felt we made great improvements, especially on the offensive side,” said Tahoe coach Tim Jaureguito. “Reno’s a very good team. They could put any number of players on the court and they’re all very aggressive.”

Courtney Wilson led Tahoe with seven points, while Katy Hayward and Chantelle Young added six each.

The Vikings will look to get their first league win in the final contest of the season on Friday at Fallon.

Whittell High’s girls basketball game at Truckee was postponed on Tuesday due to inclement weather. It’s unclear whether a makeup game will be scheduled with the nondivision Wolverines.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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