Young Vikings look to emphasize their speed
By Jeremy Evans
Tribune staff writer
There are two words to describe the South Tahoe High girls’ basketball team: young and fast.
Although all 12 of their players can handle the ball, the Vikings have only four returners from last season’s 8-20 squad and go into the season with a roster filled with six juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen. Whether that translates into immediate success for first-year coach Mark Shehadi remains to be seen.
“This is a young group, but we’re definitely going to be faster than most teams,” said Shehadi, who helped out with the varsity last season. “In fact, this could be one of the fastest teams South Tahoe has ever had. So we’re going to try and utilize our speed every chance we get. We’ve already developed a good work ethic. Everyone’s attitude has been great and I’ve already seen a lot of progress since we started practice on Nov. 15.”
Last season, South Tahoe finished in sixth place in the Sierra Division. But despite some obvious hurdles, it is already establishing a goal of earning one of the division’s four berths into the Northern 4A playoffs. Reno will once again be the division favorite, while Douglas is expected to field one of its best teams ever. Shehadi believes North Valleys and Carson are the other two teams currently in front of the Vikings. However, his players think that might change.
“I don’t expect us to win state or anything, but I definitely want to make the playoffs,” said 5-foot-10 junior Jessica Bettencourt. “I think we have the players to do it. It’s just a matter of how quickly we can learn to play together.”
Bettencourt and fellow Dana Jensen will provide the team’s post presence. Stephanie Morrow will likely play the power forward position, with a slew of players battling it out for the team’s two guard spots. Sophomore Allison Kern, who has improved immensely from last season, and sophomores Courtney Bland and Katelyn Pakes figure to play in big role in the Vikings’ backcourt.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” Shehadi said. “This is also my first year, so we’re going to have to learn together. We’re not going to have a primary ballhandler. The nice thing is all my girls can handle the ball, so it will probably be a point guard by committee thing for awhile. We’ll keep going with that until we have to do something different.”
The Vikings’ biggest losses from last season were point guard Tiffany Pinson, who graduated, and Monica Knight, a junior to-be who transferred schools in the offseason. This leaves South Tahoe with a relatively inexperienced team, but Morrow thinks leaders will emerge.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we do overall,” Morrow said. “We’re all kind of excited about what might happen. Someone will need to step up in that leadership role. You would expect it to come from the juniors, but you never know where it will come from. It could be anybody.”
The Vikings open the season with a home game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday against Whittell.
“There’s going to be a lot of growing pains with this team, but it’s amazing how much we’ve progressed already,” Shehadi said. “I’m excited to see what happens on Saturday. It’s always nice to play another lake team in the regular season. Hopefully we can get a pretty big crowd for a game over the Thanksgiving weekend. There’s really nothing else to do.”
2004-05 STHS girls’ basketball schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME
Saturday WHITTELL 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 At Damonte 7 p.m.
Dec. 2 At N. Tahoe 7 p.m.
Dec. 7 At Galena 7 p.m.
Dec. 14 SP. SPRINGS 7 p.m
Dec. 15 At Manogue 7 p.m.
Dec. 17-20 At El Dorado Tournament TBA
Dec. 27-31 At Steele Canyon Tournament TBA
Jan. 4 At Reno 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 7 WOOSTER 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 8 BULLARD 6 p.m.
Jan. 11 At N. Valleys 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 14 At Douglas 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 15 CARSON 3:15 p.m.
Jan. 21 HUG 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 22 At Center TBA
Jan. 25 RENO 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 28 At Wooster 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 1 DOUGLAS 5:15 p.m
Feb. 4 At Carson 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 5 N. VALLEYS 3:15 p.m.
Feb. 8 At Hug 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 15-19 Regionals TBA
Feb. 24-26 State TBA