Vikings heat up in San Diego
The sun and warmth of San Diego heated up the South Tahoe High boys basketball program last week.
The mountain boys brought home three victories in five games to claim seventh-place in the National Prep Classic.
Besides an 80-49 thumping of Canoga Park, Calif., in their tournament opener Wednesday, the Vikings downed Bullard of Fresno, Calif., 61-55 Friday and John Francis Polytechnic of Sun Valley, Calif., 75-60 Saturday. The Vikings’ only defeats were to unbeaten El Camino and 61-52 to Palo Verde of Las Vegas.
“I was pumped. It’s starting to come around,” said Vikings coach Derek Allister. “Some kids we were unsure of are really starting to come around.”
Senior Matt Mora had an “incredible tournament,” according to Allister.
Mora scored 13 points against El Camino, 18 on Bullard and 20 on Palo Verde. Mora, however, saved his best for last, scorching Poly for 32 points.
“That was the best game I’ve seen any kid play here,” Allister said. “This was a night when Matt was playing. He maintained his composure and kept playing and had the greatest game he’s had in my two years here.”
Junior center Curtis Johnson also brought his “A” game to San Diego. The 6-foot-7 Johnson had 21 rebounds and 12 points vs. Bullard, 16 points and 11 rebounds against Palo Verde and a near triple-double with 12 blocked shots, seven points and 12 rebounds against Poly.
“He turned a few heads; he was one of the better big men in our bracket,” Allister said. “He had an outstanding rebounding tournament.”
South Tahoe’s six-point win over Bullard on Friday was a turning point during its stay in San Diego. The Vikings trailed 37-31 at the half, but a defensive switch turned the tables.
“We went to our zone, which we’ve been working on, and they only scored 18 points in the second half,” Allister said.
Reserve Larry Martinez also had a coach-pleasing tournament with 13 points in the Bullard game, eight against Palo Verde and 10 against Poly.
STHS (6-9) travels to North Valleys on Jan. 8.
Vikings dealt two tough losses in Placerville
Two potential victories slipped through South Tahoe High’s grasp, but the Vikings left the El Dorado Tournament on a competitive high Saturday in Placerville.
South Tahoe (7-7), which recently won a tournament in Las Vegas, trounced Golden Sierra 60-28 on Friday. The Vikings, however, lost hard-fought games to Rio Americano (54-51) on Friday and Union Mine (49-40) on Saturday.
Jenn Galea scored 14 points, including four 3-pointers, in the Vikings’ win over Golden Sierra.
The Vikings had a chance to tie Rio Americano in the final seconds by senior Lindsey Hitt’s 3-point try was treated unkindly by the rim in the final seconds.
“I’ve never seen a ball hang on the rim as long as that one did,” said STHS coach Tim Jaureguito. “It looked like it was going in, but then it turned out.”
Jaureguito was displeased with his team’s offensive showing against Union Mine of Garden Valley, Calif. The Vikings trailed by 10 points at intermission, but fought back to within five points after three periods and to within two points during the final eight minutes.
“We have been getting different people scoring at different times, but I think we need more consistency in scoring,” he said.
Hitt, Galea and Amy Carter fouled out against Union Mine, upsetting Jaureguito.
“I don’t believe officials can cost you a game, but they just gave us a bad time,” said Jaureguito, who received a postgame apology from a tournament director because of the officiating. “Every time we got within two or three points, we were called for a foul.”
STHS plays a nonleague game at Sparks on Friday before resuming division play on Tuesday at North Valleys.
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