Vikings’ ‘David’ contains Reno’s Goliath Padgett
The showdown between a pair of Sierra Division Goliaths turned into a matchup of David vs. Goliath on Friday night.
South Tahoe High 6-foot-8 senior center Curtis Johnson picked up three quick fouls, forcing 6-3 junior forward Dan Tilles to assume most of the responsibility for defending Reno 6-11 star David Padgett.
Tilles and a collapsing Viking man-to-man defense limited Padgett to a season-low 14 points, but Reno escaped with a 41-27 boys’ basketball victory in front of a near sellout crowd in South Lake Tahoe.
“Anytime you get a win on the road in an atmosphere like this, it’s unbelievable,” Padgett said. “Some nights it doesn’t fall in the basket like you want it to, but that says a lot about their defense.”
Padgett wasted no time setting the tone as he took Johnson into the low box repeatedly in the opening minutes. Showing superior quickness, Padgett used a quick drop step to score twice and on a third move to the basket he was fouled by Johnson, leading to a three-point play. Padgett drew a second foul from Johnson and the Vikings’ top inside presence was assessed a third foul while scrapping for a loose ball with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first period.
“It totally threw us out of kilter, although I will say the Tilles kid came in and played exceedingly well, given the fact that he has limited playing time,” said Viking coach Derek Allister. “He showed a lot of heart and courage.”
Senior forward Niko Klansek briefly defended Padgett when Johnson went to the bench for the remainder of the half, but Tilles gave the Vikings a defensive lift off the bench. Tilles and help-side defense from his teammates prevented Padgett from getting many looks inside, often forcing the Kansas-bound player to kick the ball out to a guard.
“David’s not stupid. If it goes in there and he has three guys on him, he’s going to find our open guys,” said Pete Padgett, David’s father and coach.
Tilles, however, fouled out before the end of the end of the third period.
Neither team found any offensive continuity in the first half as the Vikings’ man defense and Reno’s gimmick man with Padgett camping beneath the basket made for horrendous shooting. The Huskies shot 18 percent and the Vikings a dismal 8.7 percent in the opening 16 minutes, which ended with Reno in front 15-4. The Vikings were held scoreless in the second period as well.
Padgett obviously played a part in the Vikings’ shooting woes, altering the way some players shot the ball and taking away inside chances with his intimidating presence.
“That’s why he’s such a great player. Not only can he score, but he changes the face of the game at the other end,” Allister said.
Allister shouldered the blame for the Vikings’ poor offensive performance.
“We should have gone to the press early,” Allister said. “I was thinking about it, but I didn’t want to open the court because we were still in striking distance. To loosen up, because I think we were so tight, we probably should have gone to the full-court pressure.”
With Johnson back in the lineup for the third period, the Vikings made a run at the Huskies. Back-to-back buckets by Klansek and Johnson — the latter a thunderous dunk over Padgett — pulled the Vikings to within 17-11 with 4:55 remaining in the third quarter.
However, Drew Lipnosky poured in three shots beyond the arc to give Reno a 28-11 lead late in the period.
“We had to get him the ball. And more times than not it came from kicking the ball out of the post,” coach Padgett said.
The Vikings never got any closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Johnson outplayed Padgett in the final period, scoring eight of his team-high 10 points. He also pulled down seven rebounds and collected an assist and a steal. Klansek also scored 10 points for the Vikings.
“As the game wore and Curtis started getting some confidence and started figuring some things out, he started looking better and better,” Allister said.
Padgett finished with 14 points, half of which came in the first quarter. He also had nine rebounds and six blocks.
“Anybody who was here cannot have anything but admiration for our kids at the defensive end,” Allister said. “I think they showed a toughness and a tenacity which is very promising for the future.”
The Vikings, 1-2 in division play, welcome North Valleys on Friday and Douglas on Saturday.
Reno girls 85, STHS 16
Still adjusting to a unit of players brought up from the JV and freshman teams, the Vikings were whipped by Reno in a Sierra Division game Friday.
Some of the Vikings’ varsity regulars continued to serve suspensions, stemming from disciplinary taken during and after the team’s trip to the Costa Mesa Invitational during Christmas break.
STHS (0-3, 1-9) went nearly 6 minutes without scoring as Reno built a 21-0 lead. However, the Vikings showed no quit, which became clear when the Viking bench erupted after Amanda Mooney drained a 3-point shot with 50 seconds remaining.
Reno senior forward Melissa LeMay provided the inside game, scoring 18 points, while sophomore guard Kaylan King delivered perimeter punch with 16 points, many coming from beyond the arc.
FRIDAY’S PREP SUM
RENO 41, STHS 27
Padgett 4-13, 6-13, 14; Lipnosky 5-5, 0-0, 13; Johnson 1-2, 2-2, 4; Jeannes 3-9, 0-0, 6; Stanko 1-6, 0-0, 2; Ortega 0-2, 0-0, 0; Langsner 0-1, 2-2, 2. Totals 14, 10-17, 41.
Klansek 4-17, 10; Johnson 3-8, 4-4, 10; Perry 1-2, 0-0, 3; Wallace 1-6, 0-0, 2; Griffith 1-3, 0-0, 2; Cosmi 0-1, 0-0, 0; Wood 0-6, 0-0, 0; Domingo 0-1, 0-0, 0; Tilles 0-3, 0-0, 0; Gienapp 0-1, 0-0, 0. Totals 10-48, 4-4, 27.
Reno 9 6 21 5 — 41
South Tahoe 4 0 13 10– 27
Total fouls: South Tahoe 19, Reno 13. Fouled out: Tilles.
JV score: Reno won 58-33 (Tahoe high scorer, Alex Urreaga, 11 points).
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