Vikings split with local rivals
Jared Wood’s creative shots around the basket and Conor Freeman’s deadly shooting beyond the three-point arc entertained South Tahoe High basketball fans on Friday night.
But the Vikings’ offense didn’t win their Sierra Division boys’ basketball game with Douglas. No, it was defense that triggered the Vikings’ 57-49 comeback victory in South Lake Tahoe.
South Tahoe switched to a man defense early in the fourth quarter, bogging down Douglas inside game and limiting the Tigers to eight points in the final 8 minutes.
“That’s the hallmark of a good team,” said South Tahoe coach Derek Allister. “I’ve never had a team that could grind out wins, not play particularly well, but play with a lot of heart, courage and toughness and subsequently win.”
The Vikings were particularly tough on Douglas 6-foot-9 star Keith Olson in crunch time. Olson only scored seven second-half points, including a meaningless two with the game out of reach in the final seconds.
“With our zone, Keith would get the ball and we wouldn’t have a guy doubling,” Freeman said. “When we went man, we always had a guy ballside who would double, and that kept Keith in control.”
Allister used the 2-3 zone defense to protect a foul-plagued Wood. But when Wood still had two fouls to give early in the fourth period, Allister switched back to a man defense.
Douglas never got into an offensive rhythm in the final period, coughing up the ball on three straight possessions at one point. The defensive spurt energized the Vikings’ offense, which went on a 9-0 run to start the quarter. Wood began attacking the Tigers’ inside, scoring twice as the Vikings went ahead 49-41.
“I thought if we could get into the late stages of the fourth quarter and be close that we’d have a real chance to win it,” Allister said.
The Tigers made one final push. But with Douglas trailing 49-46 with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left, Olson missed two free throw attempts after an apparent block by STHS 6-8 center Joel Keegan.
Wood’s driving basket put STHS in front 51-46 with 1:50 left, but Nathan Whalin’s free throw with 1:04 remaining pulled Douglas within four points.
Perfect foul shooting by Freeman and K.J. Allister put away the Tigers in the final minute. Freeman finished with a game-high 21 points, canning four trifectas. Wood was next with 17 points.
“This team has someone stepping up every game,” said Keegan, who finished with 12 points. “Anybody on the team can make a difference in those last five minutes.”
Things didn’t go so smoothly for the Vikings on Saturday night in Carson.
The Senators were definitely on top of their game and chopped down South Tahoe 57-42 at Morse Burley Gym in Carson City.
Coming off a 77-65 loss to North Valleys on Friday, Carson found whatever element it needed to play an energetic – yet controlled – game against the Vikings.
“I think they were stronger, more physical and had more energy than we did,” Allister said. “They got into us out of the gate. We struggled throughout. We didn’t play well, but they had a lot to do with that.”
Just as it did in wins against Douglas and Wooster (and in an inspired effort in a loss to Hug), Carson came out fast and took a 10-0 lead courtesy of seniors Steve Mandoki and Kevin Brush. Mandoki had a long jumper and a layup and Brush had a steal, converted a three-point play and then stroked a 3-pointer to give Carson the only lead it would ever need.
The Senators stayed in the Sierra League playoff race and improved to 3-3 in league play and 9-10 overall. South Tahoe slipped to 11-7, 4-2.
“They showed they had character tonight,” said Carson coach Bruce Barnes. “The starting group showed they weren’t happy with their performance (Friday). They played as well and controlled as they can play. They shot the ball well.”
Brush had a team-high 14 points, senior guard Adam Houghton added nine, and Mandoki and senior center Jake Jeffers each had eight for Carson.
Wood led all scorers with 20 and Keegan contributed 10 for the Vikings.
“Bruce is one of the best coaches around,” Allister said. “He got his kids to play hard. That’s the best I’ve seen them shoot it. We’ve been on a run lately, but you can’t play well every night. We ran into a buzz saw.”
– The Nevada Appeal’s Mike Houser contributed to this story.
FRIDAY’S BOYS SUMS
VIKINGS 57, TIGERS 49
DOUGLAS – Hadlock 3-8, 3-4, 9; Gransbery 3-6, 1-2, 9; Whalin 1-3, 1-2, 3; Jeffrey Nady 2-6, 2-5, 6; Olson 8-16, 2-4, 18; Joseph Nady 0-2, 0-0, 0; Vacek 1-1, 0-0, 2; Fanene 0-1, 2-2, 2; Trowbridge 0-0, 0-1, 0; Emm 0-0, 0-1, 0. Totals 18-43, 11-21, 49.
SOUTH TAHOE – Cocking 0-4, 0-0, 0; Allister 0-3, 3-6, 3; Freeman 6-9, 5-6, 21; Wood 6-15, 3-3, 17; Keegan 5-14, 2-5, 12; Anstett 1-2, 0-0, 2; Capellino 1-3, 0-0, 2; Galbreath 0-1, 0-0, 0. Totals 19-51, 13-20, 57.
Douglas 11 14 16 8 – 49
South Tahoe 14 8 18 17 – 57
Three-point field goals: Douglas, Gransbery 2; South Tahoe, Freeman 4, Wood 2. Fouls: South Tahoe 19, Douglas 17.
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