Warriors nearly shock Longhorns
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
How much better was Whittell than the first time it played Battle Mountain on Jan. 6?
Thirty-eight points to be exact.
Still it wasn’t enough as the second-place Longhorns escaped with a 74-71 overtime win over the Warriors on Friday night in a Northern 2A League boys’ basketball game in Zephyr Cove.
Jeff Young scored a career-high 36 points, including 13 of 13 from the foul line, and the Warriors got a strong second-half defensive effort from Chris Craig on Longhorns’ star Jake Radford. Craig, giving up seven inches, held Radford to 10 points in the second half.
Craig also hit a follow-up shot with 1 second remaining to send the game into overtime. But the Longhorns prevented the Warriors from earning their first league win by winning the overtime session 9-6. Jeff Young had a chance to force a second overtime, but his three-point try didn’t drop.
“The kids really played outstanding against a bigger team and worked hard,” said WHS coach Dennis Young.
Battle Mountain won the first meeting 71-30 on Jan. 6, but Whittell wasn’t about to get embarrassed in its own building.
“We’ve opened up our offense a bit the last week and a half and we’re playing better defense,” coach Young said. “We screened and put a body on them.”
Craig and Joseph Hsiao each scored 14 points for the Warriors (3-17 and 0-6). Radford led the Longhorns (13-7, 7-2) with 26.
Whittell will make up a league game with Hawthorne at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Zephyr Cove.
WHS gains confidence
Although Whittell High was able to finish a potential upset of Battle Mountain on Friday night, coach Nathan Tolbert saw a team that had been missing for a month.
“We’re back,” said Tolbert, assessing his Warriors’ spirited play in a 73-54 Northern 2A girls basketball loss to the first-place Longhorns. “We didn’t win the game, but we needed to prove to ourselves that we could play because our chemistry and confidence has been down.”
The loss of starters Katrina Kacirek and Kelly Karmann for extended periods of time has sent the Warriors into a six-game tailspin. During their tough stretch the Warriors lost to Battle Mountain by 42 points.
Kacirek was back in the lineup Friday, showing no effects of a hyperextended knee, scoring 15 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Karmman, though, isn’t expected to see some playing time until later in the week after just being cleared to practice following jaw surgery.
Tara Tremayne’s outside marksmanship gave Battle Mountain an early lift. She made three trifectas in the opening eight minutes, staking the Longhorns to a 21-9 lead.
But Whittell woke up in the second period, closing to 39-33 at the half and carried the momentum in the second half. In fact, the Warriors forged into the lead several times in the third period.
“Then we started to get tired and we had more turnovers in the fourth quarter than we had the whole game (to that point),” Tolbert said.
Tremayne finished with six three-pointers and a game-high 26 points. Teammate Arantxa Kovis added 22 points.
Jessica Woods led Whittell with 16 points. Whittell’s balanced attack also included nine points and four boards from Megan Esquivel; six points, 11 rebounds and two steals from Kendra Koskin and six points from Tara Scaduto.
Whittell will try to end its losing streak when Hawthorne visits in a makeup game on Wednesday night. Both teams are tied for fifth place in the Northern 2A at 0-4.
Vikes’ coach sees improvement
South Tahoe’s ability to consistently break full-court pressure was encouraing to girls’ basketball coach Chris Holmes following a 0-2 weekend.
The Vikings forced Damonte Ranch to switch out of its pressure defense in the first quarter of a 40-28 Sierra Division defeat on Friday night in South Lake Tahoe.
“They are understanding more of the cuts they are supposed to be making,” Holmes said. “After three times they took it off because we were looking at wide-open layups.”
The Vikings got as close as eight points in the final quarter, but Damonte Ranch was able to prevent any kind of run by the home team.
Katelyn Pakes led the Vikings with nine points, followed by Coral Warren with six. Warren also rebounded well, according to Holmes.
Reno ran its unbeaten division mark to 9-0 with a 77-34 victory over the Vikings on Saturday in Reno.
“Reno is deep and they kept going at us,” Holmes said. “They are a tough team.”
STHS, however, made Reno work harder than the previous meeting when the Huskies led 29-5 after the first quarter. This time a tightly contested opening quarter ended with Reno in front 22-13.
Pakes again led the Vikings with 10 points, followed by Braun with eight points.
STHS (0-9, 1-12) entertains Wooster at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
South Tahoe won the game it had to have on Friday night to remain in third place going into the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Vikings’ come-from-behind 58-49 over Damonte Ranch on Friday and a 79-42 defeat at Reno on Saturday left STHS in a third-place tie with Douglas at 5-4 in the Sierra Division boys’ basketball standings.
The two teams will meet on Friday night in the Vikings’ middle game of the week. South Tahoe plays host to last-place Wooster on Tuesday and Carson on Saturday.
No other details were available at press time.
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