Vikings knee-deep in playoff race |

Vikings knee-deep in playoff race

by Matt O'Neill, Lake Tahoe Community College

If the South Tahoe boys basketball team put themselves back into the Sierra Division with last week’s win over the Wooster on the road, then the Vikings definitely cemented their position for the postseason with Friday’s home win over the Hug Hawks, 59-54.

The win was the first home victory of the season for South Tahoe and put the Vikings’ league record at 3-5.

“We’re right in the thick of it now,” Viking coach Derek Allister said.

The Vikings led throughout the whole contest, but had to play the stretch run without one of their stars in Matt Connelly. The senior guard picked up his third foul early in the third quarter and was relegated to the bench for most of the rest of the game.

Fellow seniors Chris Ortiz and Clint Joaquin picked up the slack in Connelly’s absence. The duo combined for 27 points, and played well down the stretch.

“Aaron (Shively), Chris and Clint all played very well for us,” Allister said. “The kids really performed well.”

Ortiz paced the Vikings with 18 points, while Joaquin and Shively added 10, and Connelly had six in front a boisterous home crowd.

“The student support was fantastic,” Allister said. “It gave us the feeling that we were going to win.”

The next contest for South Tahoe is a big one, with 4-4 Douglas coming to town. The Vikings beat the Tigers by 18 points down in Minden a couple of weeks ago, setting up the rematch on Tuesday.

Close doesn’t count for Warriors

The Whittell girls basketball team rode the hot shooting of senior Caitlin Fagan, but didn’t have enough gas left to beat Lovelock Friday night as the Warriors fell 53-49, virtually eliminating them from the postseason.

Whittell was down 24-12 at halftime, but had a fantastic second half to pull within one with about a minute left in the game.

Junior Stephanie Evans was shooting free throws that would have pulled the Warriors even, but Whittell was called for a lane violation and Lovelock came down and converted a three-point play to secure the win.

“It was a very disappointing loss for us,” Warrior coach Lindsay Wines said. “Especially with how hard the girls played.”

Fagan paced the Warriors with a career-high 34 points, just four off the school record, but it was not enough for the win.

“Caitlin had a phenomenal game,” Wines said. “She hit some big threes to keep us close.”

Friday will see the Warrior seniors play on their home court when Incline comes to Zephyr Cove.

The junior varsity team also lost to Lovelock, falling 54-36.

It was a one-woman show for the Mustangs as Vicky Campbell scored 37 points. Campbell, who had been on varsity, recently joined the JV team to gain more playing time.

The Warriors were paced by Jackie Laurian and Elise Thomas, who both had nine, whlie Laurian added 12 rebounds and seven steals.

Whittell’s record is 7-6 overall, and 2-2 in league and are guaranteed at least a .500 winning percentage with only one game remaining against Incline.

Whittell gets out-hustled

The Whittell boys basketball team couldn’t overcome a 10-0 run by the Lovelock Mustangs to open the game as the Warriors fell 74-63.

Despite falling behind early, Whittell managed to play Lovelock evenly for the rest of the game, including a 10-5 run to close the first quarter.

“After the timeout, we seemed to focus,” Warrior coach Steve Maltase said. “But they were just more aggressive than we were.”

Hindered by foul trouble and without senior forward Luke Forvilly, who missed the game because of a suspension, the Warriors relied heavily on their perimeter players and reserves.

Senior Bryan Sigel paced Whittell with 18 points, but it was the play of Mike Ingenluyff, Alex Swearingen, and Jake Summers which kept the Warriors in the game.

“The kids that don’t normally contribute, came up big for us,” Maltase said. “Mike, Alex, and Jake all had good games.”

The loss drops the Warriors into a tie with Incline for third place at 2-4 in league. The Warriors hold the tie-breaker over the Highlanders and welcome Incline to Warrior gym on Friday.

“It’s going to be a playoff game for us, we’re fighting for position,” Maltase said. “It’s big, we should have a big crowd there and use it to our advantage.”

Poor foul shooting hurts Vikings

If the South Tahoe girls basketball team can hit its free throws, then the Vikings have a good shot at winning. Such was the case Friday night when the Vikings hosted the Hug Hawks.

Although South Tahoe lost by 10, 56-46, the Vikings had an opportunity to pull within five or six with about 30 seconds left.

Hug was called for a foul and a technical, granting the Vikings four shots from the charity stripe and possession of the ball.

Beth Hickman and Jen Galea were unable to connect on their shots and the Hawks pulled away when the Vikings were forced to foul to stop the clock.

“That was the difference in the game, we could have put the pressure on them, but they put it on us,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito, whose team missed a total of 15 free throws on the night.

South Tahoe played as a team throughout the game and drew energy from the home-town crowd, but it was not enough.

“It’s exciting for the girls (to play in front of a crowd),” Jaureguito said. “The crowd support was outstanding, the students really came out in numbers.”

The Vikings were led by Lindsey Hitt’s 16 points, while Amy Carter and Galea each added nine.

The final home game for the Vikings will be Tuesday when South Tahoe welcomes the Douglas Tigers to town.

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