Vikings summer hoop team pulls off upset
Reduced to seven players on Sunday, South Tahoe’s Basketball Club showed why hustle and determination can overcome superior athletic ability.
With three of its top players showcasing their skills at the Pump All-Star Classic on Sunday in Southern California, South Tahoe still pulled off a shocking upset of Bishop O’Dowd, took perennial Oregon state title contender Beaverton to the final seconds and lost to Sacramento powerhourse Jesuit by 10 points on the final day of the talent-laden South Tahoe Shootout.
“They were really a pleasure to watch. It forced me to play other kids a lot and gave them the opportunity to shine. They played harder than any other team in the tournament,” Orlich said.
Following their stunning six-point win over previously undefeated Bishop O’Dowd, South Tahoe’s persistent seven-man crew led Beaverton from the start only to have the suburb of Portland rally for the win on a buzzer-beating layup. South Tahoe had a chance to go ahead with five seconds to go, but Tim Sprinkles misfired after taking an interior pass from Travis McCollum.
South Tahoe finally ran out of gas against a Jesuit club that repeatedly contends for the Northern California section title. Playing their hearts out were McCollum, Sprinkles, Matt Connelly, Casey Kaczmarek, Andy Butcher, James Clemmer and Ervin Joaquin.
South Tahoe played all three games without star guard John Giannoni, 6-6 center Bob Larmore and sharp-shooting guard Matt Williams.
Orlich revealed that Giannoni will be under the watchful eyes of a handful of Pac-10 schools, including Oregon, Oregon State and Washington; Santa Clara and New Mexico over the next week.
“There are a number of schools contacting and watching him,” Orlich said. “This is a big time for him. If he plays well for the next week and a half, he’ll be able to get a (scholarship) ride anywhere he wants.”
South Tahoe had its full roster of players for the first two days of the Shootout, splitting four games. South Tahoe defeated Castro Valley and Oceanview of Huntington Beach, Calif., and lost to Judge Memorial, Utah, and Oak Ridge. In the latter game, Oak Ride scored at the buzzer to force a sudden-death overtime, which it won by scoring the first two points.
“We weren’t playing great basketball … at least not up to our potential,” said Orlich, whose club finished 3-4 in the Shootout.
South Tahoe leaves Wednesday to play in the Adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas. In the preliminary round, South Tahoe will play teams from Indiana, Texas and Utah. After a brief respite, South Tahoe will then play the likes of De La Salle, Clovis and Berkley in the De La Salle tournament.
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