Vikings miss playoffs for first time in Nevada league
CARSON CITY – For a quarter, it look as if the South Tahoe High Vikings were going to extend their postseason appearance streak to 19 straight seasons.
But fortunately for the Carson, South Tahoe only played a good first quarter, before falling apart in the next two. And the Senators were right there to pick up the pieces.
Vinnie Reymus led all scorers with 24 points and Cody Longero added 15 as Carson overcame a seven-point first quarter deficit to pick up an 81-58 win over the Vikings on Friday at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
With the win, Carson (19-8, 6-4) is the Sierra League’s No. 3 seed and will play at McQueen in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs on Wednesday in Reno. If Douglas would’ve lost on Friday night to Wooster, the Senators would’ve been the No. 2 seed and hosted a first round game against Fallon. Instead, the Tigers took care of the Colts 60-48 to earn the No. 2 seed and will play the Greenwave on Wednesday in Minden.
South Tahoe, on the other hand, will watch the Northern Nevada 4A playoffs for the first time since joining the league for the 1982-83 season. The Vikings finished in fifth in the Sierra Division at 3-7 and 9-17 overall.
As it turned out, the Senators’ six seniors, including Reymus and Longero, played their last home game against the Vikings. But they made it memorable.
With a lineup of Reymus, Longero, Jeff Young, Nicholas Carlson, and Chandler Allen, Carson fell behind 15-8 after the first quarter. The Senators’ first player off the bench was Richard Serralta. Carlson and Serralta have been used sparingly this season, while Allen is an important piece of Carson’s rotation. The other three are regular fixtures in the starting lineup.
“We knew we were going to give up something starting out with that lineup, because those players haven’t ever played together before,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. “But it was important that we played them because they’re seniors.”
But once the second quarter began, Carson’s two other regular starters, Ryan Buttner and Vince Inglima were back on the floor and it was all over for the Vikings.
Carson outscored South Tahoe 27-7 in the second quarter, aided by Buttner, who scored all eight of his points in the second. His 3-pointer with 5:48 left in the half tied the game at 18-18. The Senators’ closed out the quarter on a 17-4 run to take a 35-22 halftime lead.
The third quarter wasn’t much different for South Tahoe. Reymus scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the third as Carson stretched its lead to 62-35 by the end of the quarter.
Reymus was 3 of 5 from behind the arc and 9-of-12 from the field. As a team, Carson shot 55 percent from the field after the first quarter.
“I just felt it tonight,” Reymus said. “And since we weren’t sure if this was going to be our last home game, we all wanted to put on a show for the fans. It was fun out there tonight.”
Chris Ortiz and Matt Connelly each scored 13 points in their final games as Vikings.
The Carson High girls basketball team received some good news prior to Friday’s game against South Tahoe. Point guard Erin Stieber, who had been sidelined since December with a broken collarbone, was cleared by her doctor on Friday to play against the Vikings, nearly eight weeks after the injury on Dec. 16. And when she entered the game midway through the second quarter, her presence was felt.
Stieber scored six points and senior Meghan Gradert put up a game-high 27 points as Carson held off a late rally by South Tahoe for a 54-47 win at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
“She (Stieber) just got her clearance today, so she was really excited to play,” Carson coach Paul Croghan said. “And when she got in, she really got the other players involved.”
Stieber’s basket with 3:32 left in the half gave the Senators’ a 16-15 lead. Then her assist on Talia Joyce’s basket at the end of the first half put Carson up 20-19. It never let go of the lead after that.
With the win, Carson (14-11, 5-5) becomes the Sierra League’s No. 3 seed in next week’s Northern 4A playoffs. They’ll play Galena, the High Desert League’s No. 2 seed, on Tuesday in Reno. Croghan said that although he’d prefer to host a playoff game, just the chance to be in them is good enough.
“Everyone starts out the playoffs 0-0,” Croghan said. “It’d be nice to play at home, but if you can’t get fired up for the playoffs, then you just can’t get fired up.”
Carson started out the second half on a 12-2 run, going up 32-21 after a Tabitha Adams basket with 4:24 left in the third quarter. In the run, Stieber had two assists and two points. She would have had more assists, but several of her teammates didn’t expect her passes, which then resulted in turnovers.
“When she’s out there, the rest of the players better have their heads on a swivel because she’ll find you,” Croghan said about Stieber. “She just sees the court really well.”
Carson held two 14-point leads in the second half before the Vikings tried to stage a comeback. Jennifer Galea’s basket with 3:07 left in the game cut the Senators’ lead to six, 48-42. Then Galea’s next basket shortened Carson’s lead to 50-47. But that’s as close as South Tahoe (6-21, 0-10) would get. Galea led the Vikings with 13 points while Lindsay Hitt added 13.
“We started playing too fast,” Croghan said about allowing South Tahoe back into the game in the fourth quarter. “We were rushing shots and hurrying things up a bit. When we went on our run, we were under control and that’s why we got some easy baskets.”
Gradert, who scored 15 of her points in the second half, was 9-of-12 from the free throw line, which impressed Croghan.
“I was glad to see Meghan have a good game,” Croghan said. “They don’t have a lot of size, so we thought she’d be able to play well.”
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