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Vikings off to good start in San Diego

Gary Kank, Tribune staff writer

While the South Tahoe High boys basketball team likely received a few gifts over the past couple days, their opening-round 80-49 defeat of Canoga Park (Calif.) Wednesday, was about as far from a gift as they come.

Using a pressing style on both sides of the ball, the Vikings smothered the opposition on defense and shot the lights out on offense to earn a spot in the winners bracket of the four-day National Prep Classic in San Diego.

“The kids came back from our Christmas break excited, ready to get their uniforms back on and play ball,” Viking coach Derek Allister said. “I think the enthusiasm factor really helped us today.”

Out in front 22-15 after the first quarter, Viking senior Matt Mora buried two 3-pointers to start the second and they never looked back.

“We started out a bit slow,” Allister said. “Then Matt hit a couple threes and it really started to click.”

The Vikings increased their lead to 44-37 at halftime, but it was the second-half that would see them pull away from the Hunters.

With Mora and fellow senior Pete Chiarpotti scoring from the outside, 6-foot-7 center Curtis Johnson was a force in the paint.

Johnson finished with 21 points, 12 boards and a handful of blocks.

And while the Viking trio was scoring the entire team was laying on a healthy serving of smothering defense.

“We pressed the whole game,” Allister said. “It’s really coming along and giving us an advantage.”

The Viking presses troubled Canoga Park so much, the Hunters were only able to manage 12 points in the final two frames as the Vikings outscored them 18-8 and 18-4.

“I told the boys that the good teams are the ones that can execute throughout the entire game,” Allister said. “Closing games is really something we’ve been working on and we did it today.”

The Vikings will look to continue the winning today as they face El Camino of Los Angeles.


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