Vikings suffer rare division defeat at home |

Vikings suffer rare division defeat at home

As the Northern Nevada 4A Division II schedule nears its halfway point, the South Tahoe boys basketball team finds itself in an unfamiliar spot – second place.

The Vikings lost a 69-67 thriller to Wooster on Friday night, the team’s first defeat since Dec. 28 in the second round of the Nike National Prep Classic in San Diego. The loss propelled the Colts (10-6 overall, 4-0 division) to the top of the Division II standings and loosened the Viking’s grip on first place.

“I thought we got a little complacent,” said South Tahoe coach Tom Orlich, who will take a 14-5 team (4-1 in division) to Fallon on Friday at 7 p.m. “We weren’t prepared for Wooster.”

The Vikings didn’t have to wait too long to erase Friday’s loss, topping Carson the next day in a 66-44 triumph. Guard John Giannoni III paced the Vikings with 18 points and was a vital cog in a pressure defense scheme that smothered the Senators all night long.

In earlier action, the South Tahoe girls basketball team continued its rocky league start, losing a pair of weekend games to fall to last place in the division standings and 4-14 overall. The Vikings fell 70-41 to Wooster on Friday, and dropped to Carson Saturday, 62-37.

Whittell steals one at North Tahoe

The Whittell girls basketball team escaped a late rush from North Tahoe, ending a winless league drought Friday with a 46-45 win.

“It was pretty nice, the first time we’ve swept a team in probably three years,” said Warriors coach Lindsay Wines, whose squad pulled out the victory despite surrendering two turnovers in the last 10 seconds. “To have as many turnovers as we had and still win, that was nice, too.”

Guard Sarah Sufka led Whittell with 19 points, shooting seven-of-eight from the free throw line. Forward Caitlin Fagan added 11 points and showed great composure in the game’s final minutes, Wines said.

Things got a little tougher for the Warriors Saturday, falling to Portola, 63-33 in a Warrior turnover parade. Sufka and Fagan again led Whittell, notching 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Whittell plays five-time defending state champion Hawthorne, featuring highly-coveted junior Ashlee Orndoff.

“I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to play Hawthorne,” said Wines, whose squad is 5-12 (0-4 in Division II) after the weekend’s action. “It’s important that the girls go in thinking what we have to do and not who we’re doing it against.”

Warriors fold in final quarter

A fourth-quarter disappearance turned a close game into a rout as the Whittell boys basketball team fell to North Tahoe 57-35 Friday.

Trailing 25-22 at the halftime, the Warriors hung around and cut the Laker lead to four points before entering the final period facing a 41-33 deficit. Foul trouble, poor shooting and an all-or-nothing aggressive defense yielded a two-point performance in the fourth quarter.

“We had a real bad fourth quarter, only scoring two points,” said Whittell coach Steve Maltase. “Defensively, we were gambling and that helped them make a (16-2) run on us. It was a good game until the end, though.”

Warriors forward James Putnam fouled out early in the fourth quarter, making matters difficult for the Warriors. Guard Todd Echan led Whittell with 13 points.

Maltase’s team has shown flashes of brilliance this season, including a Dec. 8 upset over defending state champion Truckee. But consistent 32-minute performances have been few and far between.

“I know physically we can play with anybody on our schedule,” said Maltase, whose squad faces Hawthorne later this week. “We just need a little more mental toughness.”

Viking Nordic skier shorthanded at Mammoth

The South Tahoe High Nordic ski team may have been a couple soldiers short of a full army on Friday, but it scored promising results anyway at a skate race held at Mammoth’s Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center.

“We were missing some skiers which left us short a few,” said South Tahoe coach Lynn Harriman, whose Vikings earned fifth (boys) and fourth (girls) place honors at the event. “I thought we did pretty well all things considered.”

The event attracted each of the 12 teams that comprise the league’s “North” and “South” divisions. North Tahoe and Truckee dominated the overall standings, finishing one-two in both the boys and girls races.

Top Viking finishers included Corey Martin at 21st (23:14), Jeff Koeck at 23rd (23:36) and Dan Matzinger at 27th (24:12). On the girls side, South Tahoe racers Nicole Fruitman (27:26), Denise Bogard (27:27) and Mindy Manglinong (30:37) skated to 15th-, 16th- and 18th-place honors, respectively.

The Vikings next will travel to Auburn Ski Club Jan. 23 for a 6-kilometer freestyle skate race.

Nevada Appeal Staff Writer Dave Price contributed to this story.

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