Vikings lose flight, but gain a championship trophy
Given the choice of returning home from Las Vegas by van or plane, the South Tahoe High girls basketball team made an unorthodox choice Saturday night.
But it wasn’t, really.
By virtue of winning its first three games in the Lady Wolves Holiday Tourney, STHS had to either forfeit the championship game to make its 8:05 p.m. flight out of Las Vegas or play Coronado and find another mode of transportation home.
“We tried to change flight reservations, tried to change the game, but no one was willing to cooperate,” said STHS coach Tim Jaureguito. “I looked at the girls and asked them, “Do you want to leave now or do you want to play for the championship?’ It was unanimous, ‘Let’s play for the championship.’ “
After seeing their quick and painless trip home snapped away, the thought of making the return trip home longer by losing must have inspired STHS.
South Tahoe (6-5) built an 11-point halftime lead and withstood a furious Coronado rally to win the 16-team tournament, 49-48.
Coronado attempted a contested 15-shot at the buzzer, but the shot bounced off the back of the rim.
“The girls deserved it, and when you can put a trophy in the front seat, absolutely, it was worth it” Jaureguito said. “There were a lot of people who stepped up for us, and it really was a team effort.
The team rented a 15-passenger van for the return home. Parents met the champions at 5 a.m. Sunday at Douglas High in Minden.
Lindsey Hitt led the Vikings with 18 points, wile Amy Carter contributed 10.
On Friday, the Vikings slipped past Basic 48-43 behind the clutch fourth-quarter free-throw shooting of Jenn Galea. Galea sank five free throws during the final 8 minutes. Hitt and Hickman led the Vikings with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
South Tahoe won its eight-team bracket on Saturday morning with a 55-48 quieting of Denver East.
Jaureguito’s wife, Lisa, overheard Denver East parents downgrading Nevada prep basketball during breakfast earlier that morning. Denver East had breezed through its first two games.
The Vikings took it from there.
“We wanted to show these people that Nevada basketball is pretty good stuff,” Jaureguito said.
South Tahoe trailed by nine points in the third period but didn’t lose its poise. The Vikings fought back and once again Galea was as cool as Harry Potter in the Forbidden Forest, making 6-of-8 free throws in the final period.
Hitt was on top of her game, scoring 23, while Galea, Hickman and Carter each tossed in six points.
The tournament was the largest prize any of Jaureguito’s STHS’s teams have won. The tournament field also included Provo, Utah; Valley of Las Vegas; Foothill, Calif.; Sequoia of Redwood City, Calif.; Western of Las Vegas; a team from Pennsylvania and Boulder City, Nev.
“I’m really proud of the way they played and what they accomplished, especially being on the road” Jaureguito said.
An all-tournament team wasn’t selected, but Jaureguito had a pretty good idea of who the tournament committee would have selected MVP.
“Lindsey Hitt stood out,” Jaureguito said. “She played with such high energy, shot well and played good defense. I felt it was her best series of games since I’ve been coaching her.”
STHS resumes practice on Wednesday and will play in the El Dorado Tournament Dec. 27-29 Placerville.
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