Vikings focus on not being intimidated |

Vikings focus on not being intimidated

There hasn’t been a bigger game at South Tahoe High since the Vikings used to duke it out with the Galena Grizzlies for zone supremacy in the late 1990s. Before that, Dominguez once brought a team to the Viking Rotary Classic that included present Detroit Pistons guard Tayshaun Price, Chicago Bulls forward Tyson Chandler and UNLV quarterback John Thomas.

Tonight’s Sierra Division showdown with Reno will bring back memories of yesteryear when attending a Viking basketball game meant showing up for the game several hours early to ensure having a seat.

A sellout crowd of 1,500 is expected as Kansas-bound 6-foot-11 center David Padgett leads the Huskies into a pivotal early season game in the Sierra Division . An upset would drop Reno into fourth place in the standings and give the Vikings (1-1) hope of challenging division leaders Hug and Carson, both of which are 2-0.

“We have them at home. If we’re going to do it, it will be now,” said STHS reserve Dan Tilles. “It’s a chance to win a big game and see how good we can be.”

The Padgett factor remains to be seen, but the Vikings think they are more suited to playing against a true center who can reject or alter any shot attempted in the paint. After all, the Vikings practice against 6-8 senior Curtis Johnson every day in practice.

“Coach (Derek Allister) has been telling us how tall Padgett really is compared to Curtis and there’s not that big of a difference at all,” Tilles said. “Curtis is a lot ‘bigger’ than than Padgett and he’s more physical.”

Niko Klansek, who keyed the Vikings’ 62-50 victory at Wooster on Tuesday with 32 points, said it is imperative for the Vikings to make Padgett work on defense.

“On offense everything goes through Padgett, but on defense it’s a different story. We have to test him when he’s on defense and make it so he doesn’t rest,” Klansek said.

Klansek came to STHS from Slovenia for his senior season, hoping to enhance his chances of playing college basketball in the U.S. Until recently, he had never heard of Padgett and the Reno Huskies.

“I heard this is a very big game for South Tahoe High School,” he said. “I like to play against big guys … it’s challenging.”

Fans are advised to arrive at least 2 hours before the 7 p.m. tipoff. The school has the right to turn fans away once it is determined that it would be unsafe to admit additional spectators.

The STHS-Reno girls’ game begins at 5:15 p.m.

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