Vikings see need for improvement |

Vikings see need for improvement

David Gignilliat

Listening to the comments from South Tahoe players and coaches after Wednesday’s contest against Reno, one would think the boys basketball team fell straight into the clutches of its first league defeat.

Guard Tim Sprinkles: “We had a pretty poor game. We should have never let them back into the game. We didn’t get the job done.”

Guard Josh David: “We played sloppy and had too many turnovers, and that’s what cost us. We just couldn’t finish them off.”

Coach Tom Orlich: “I thought we could have played better. We were our own worst enemy. Not many guys on the team had a very good offensive game.”

By the way, the Vikings (3-0 in division) defeated an athletic, pesky Reno team at home, 65-48. And the mark of a good team may be that it continues to look for improvement, even in the face of mounting division victories.

Up 46-33, Sprinkles led a 19-12 run with seven fourth-quarter points to help put away the Huskies. The win completed the first stage in a three-game odyssey – with games against Wooster and Carson remaining – that will more than likely produce the division champion.

“We win these three and we think we’re in the driver’s seat, with everybody else fighting for second,” Orlich said. “If we don’t, it’s really anybody’s game.”

Despite episodes of poor play, South Tahoe did what it had to do to pick up the win. Turnovers came in bunches for both teams but so did points. In each of the first three quarters, the Vikings entertained double-digit leads only to see Reno whittle them back down to eight- and seven-point deficits. South Tahoe began to put away the game late in the third quarter, as Vikes’ Adam Williams and John Giannoni III traded transition baskets for a combined eight points. Giannoni finished the game with 15 points, while Williams netted 13.

The two division rivals were nearly evenly matched in size, but South Tahoe seemed to dominate on the glass. The Vikings won the decisive rebounding battle 34-22, with David (11 boards) and Sprinkles (eight boards) doing most of the work.

“They got some easy baskets, but the name of the game was the backboard,” said Reno coach Pete Padgett. “That’s where we got beat and that’s probably why we lost this game.”

The Vikings continued to have a difficult time containing the opposition’s go-to player, Orlich said. Playing that role for Reno was sophomore point guard Alex Gamboa, who finished with a team-high 13 points. South Tahoe had hoped to deny Gamboa the ball as Reno ran its half-court offense. Gamboa was able to free himself for a trio of rainbow three-pointers that drew “ooohs” and “aaahs,” even from the Viking faithful.

“We have to a better job taking the other team’s best player out of the game,” said Orlich, who tried to contain Gamboa by periodically double-teaming him in the second half. “It’s a matter of making the correct defensive adjustments.”

Just as Viking players and coaches were unwilling to relish Wednesday’s effort, they were equally reticent about taking credit for the win.

“We like it when players make really good passes or set nice screens,” said Sprinkles, one of four Viking players in double figures. “It’s not who scores on this team – that’s not what we pride ourselves on. It’s about the team here.”

Notes: David made his return to the starting lineup after a five-game absence, finishing with 13 points. The senior guard is “nearly 100 percent” after a shoulder injury sidelined him for the final two games of the Nike National Prep Classic in San Diego.

“It was good to be back in the lineup,” David said. “It gave me a lot of confidence to be back out there as a starter.”

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