Vikings, David slay Desert Shields |

Vikings, David slay Desert Shields

Michael Traum

SPARKS – South Tahoe High’s Casey Dowling said his team packed three-days worth of clothing for this weekend’s U.S. Bank/NIAA Nevada boys basketball 4A state championships.

After Thursday night, the Vikings began digging for day No. 2’s duds.

South Tahoe downed Cheyenne of Las Vegas, 51-47, in the first round of the state tournament at Reed High in Sparks, winning its first game in the tournament in six years, and advancing to Friday’s semifinals vs. Las Vegas High at 1:45 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

Josh David buried a three-pointer with 1:05 left to play, putting Tahoe up 46-45 and giving the Vikes the lead in a superb see-saw battle. Alan Case set up the play with one of his team-high 10 rebounds.

“I was just hoping Alan would pass me the ball. He knew I’d be open because my man had been sagging off me all night. I was ready. I wanted to shoot,” David said.

Dowling was equally deadly to the Desert Shields. With the pressure of advancing firmly on his form, the senior coolly buried six free throws in the final 1:40. He finished a game-high 18 points.

“They were a very intense and athletic ball club that could jump out of the gym. But when I saw Josh’s three-pointer go through the net, I knew we were going to win,” Dowling said. “We weren’t expecting to go home tonight (Thursday). I felt it was our destiny to win at least one down here. We packed for three days.”

Cheyenne’s largest lead of the first half came at 10-5 in the first quarter, as Demetrius Hunter hit for three of his team-high 17 points. The Vikes battled back to trail by one after eight minutes and notch it at 28-28 at the half.

“Both teams were very patient and trying to find a chink in each other’s armor,” said Tahoe coach Tom Orlich, who expected to face a zone defense from the Shields but saw a man-to-man. “I’ve heard varying reports. One thing we know from (Las) Vegas is whatever you expect them to do, they’ll do the opposite.”

Neither team gained an edge in the third quarter, as just 12 points total were scored. The final eight minutes opened with the score tied, 34-34.

Aaron Buckman’s third shot from behind the half moon gave the Vikings a lead as the fourth opened. The Desert Shields answered with a 7-0 run, five from Hunter, to take a 41-37 advantage with 3:30 left. But David’s heroics capped a 5-0 run for Tahoe and sent the Vikes to the second round.

“We’ve been to the state tournament 16 straight years, so we’ve really got nothing to prove. But it is nice to win. And I know how sick Cheyenne feels right now,” said Orlich, who wouldn’t look past Friday’s Las Vegas game to a possible championship matchup with Galena. “We know Las Vegas is kind of a Cinderella team, but they’ve one of the hottest teams in the South. We can’t think past them nor can any of our players.”

Tahoe finished shooting just 15-47 for the field, while Cheyenne was 21-54. The Vikings sank 16-25 free throws to a dismal 3-10 for the Desert Shields. Tahoe was outrebounded 38-20, 18-6 on the offensive end. Cheyenne committed 17 turnovers to Tahoe’s nine.

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