Vikings stay in thick of playoff race
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
Playoffs are the talk of South Shore basketball teams.
The South Tahoe boys remained in playoff contention with a nailbiting 56-51 victory over Wooster. The Vikings are tied with North Valleys at 4-7 for fifth place, a half game behind Damonte Ranch. The Vikings and Panthers have one more game to play than the Mustangs so the final playoff berth could come down to a tiebreaker.
Damonte closes with a game at Wooster before hosting Hug in its final on Friday. South Tahoe has games at Douglas and North Valleys and a home tilt vs. Carson. North Valleys must play Reno and South Tahoe at home and Hug on the road.
“We kind of control our destiny. That’s a nice position to be in,” said STHS coach Chris Proctor. “Who would have thought we’d be in position to play our way into the playoffs?”
The Vikings overcame an inspired effort by Wooster, which was seeking its first division win and was playing before an energetic homecoming crowd.
South Tahoe (6-14, 4-7) took control in the second quarter. After trailing by four points after the first period, the Vikings outscored Wooster 22-11 for a 33-26 halftime lead.
The Vikings made 16-of-18 charity tosses, including 6 of 6 by Chris Eidam and 4 of 4 by Mac Cerceo, in the second quarter.
Kyle Dupree helped the Vikings stave off a late Colts’ rally with six points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter.
“They made a good run,” Proctor said. “All wins are important and I really think it was a gutsy win for our team with it being their homecoming.”
Eidam led the Vikings with 14 points, followed by Vince Capellino with 11 and Danny Vallejo with nine.
South Tahoe was scheduled to play at Douglas today, but with Lake Tahoe Unified School District closing school because of the latest snowstorm, the game has been pushed back to Wednesday.
STHS girls closing in on playoff berth
The Viking girls can guarantee their first playoff berth since 1996 by winning two of their remaining three games.
South Tahoe retained third place with a 66-58 overtime triumph over Wooster on Friday night. The Vikings (6-5) hold a half game over fourth-place North Valleys (6-6), which beat Carson 51-50 on Saturday, and a game-and-a-half edge over Hug (5-7). The Vikings must play Douglas and North Valleys on the road and host Carson.
North Valleys winds up with home games against Reno and South Tahoe. Hug must play host to Douglas and at Damonte.
With the score tied, STHS missed two layups in the final minute, including one off a steal by Jessica Hallard.
“We were ahead by 15 at the half, but the girls rushed things in the second half,” said STHS coach Chris Holmes. “The whole key this year has been our defense, and each time Wooster got the ball back, we pressured them and they didn’t get a good look.”
The Vikings reverted to their first-half form in the overtime as Hallard and Alexis Holmes each scored four points and Alexis Nunes-Fenley knocked in 3-of-4 free throw attempts.
“A real key was that we played smart with a lot of fouls,” coach Holmes said. “Tess (Braun) and Karli (Vath) showed great senior leadership. When things were getting tough, other girls were able to feed off (their leadership).”
Holmes and Hallard led the Vikings with 16 points, while Nunes-Fenley and Jordan Dalton contributed eight points.
WHS boys play well on road
Whittell, searching for its first Northern 2A boys’ victory, made Independence and Battle Mountain work for victories on Friday and Saturday.
The Warriors’ 2-1-2 zone defense caused a chilly shooting night in the Colts’ 49-30 win in Independence.
Cody Nelson, Christian Hernandez and Jeremy Dominguez all had six points for the Warriors.
“The kids definitely haven’t give up,” said WHS coach Brian Mehrer. “Friday, that was the best defensive game we’ve played. And Saturday, that was one of the shooting halves we’ve had.”
Whittell poured in nine three-points after intermission, but Battle Mountain still won 73-59 in Battle Mountain.
Six of Whittell’s trifectas came in the final period when the Warriors scored 21 points.
“We just got hot. Unfortunately, Battle Mountain was matching us three for three,” Mehrer said.
Jeremy Dominguez made three straight three-point shots and Hernandez also drained three. Adam Laub made a pair of threes.
Hernandez topped the Warriors with 18 points, while Dominguez and Nelson scored 15 and 11, respectively.
Whittell (7-14 overall, 0-10 in division) plays at North Tahoe on Tuesday.
Concha-Foley hurt in loss to Longhorns
Two-time defending state champion Battle Mountain pulled away from Whittell in the third quarter to post a 50-28 Northern 2A girls’ basketball win in Battle Mountain.
The win was costly for the Warriors, who lost Isabel Concha-Foley to an ankle injury in the third quarter. Whittell already was without the services of Heather Esquivel, who has a torn knee ligament. Another starter, Gosia Skwarlinska, didn’t play because of strep throat and Gabriella Tracy played through a sickness.
The Longhorns scored the last four points of the half for a 21-15 lead, then used a 17-7 tear in the third quarter to secure the victory.
Kendra Koskin and Tierney McKool each scored 11 points for Whittell. Concha-Foley had 15 rebounds and four steals in three quarters. Koskin had 10 boards, while McKool contributed six rebounds and four steals.
Whittell (8-10, 3-4) plays at North Tahoe on Tuesday.
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“Let Them Play,” rallies are taking place across California with a mission to bring back high school and youth sports.