Laker boys come up short against Whittell
Having just seen the Laker girls post a victory, the North Tahoe boys basketball team hit the court against Whittell Tuesday night fired up to do the same.
Though the spirited battle between the two North-South rivals lasted until the final seconds, it was Whittell who came out ahead, crushing the Lakers’ hopes with a 46-42 win.
The first half of the game was evenly matched, with both teams trading basket for basket. Whittell had a nicely converted three-point play midway through the second quarter, but on the next trip down the court, North Tahoe senior Brent Marple answered with a 3-pointer.
As the half finished up, the nets on both ends of the court lit up, as more back-to-back 3-pointers and generally solid shooting kept the game close. Whittell led at halftime 24-22.
Tipping off the second half, the game pace increased dramatically. North Tahoe ran strong and took a tenuous lead for most of the third quarter. Going into the fourth, the Lakers led 36-33.
The last eight minutes of play was a grudge match in which Whittell proved more aggressive, if not downright dirty. Scoring six unanswered points while fouling hard and intentionally, the Warriors took an early-quarter lead at 39-36.
North Tahoe kept its cool and tied the game at 41 with four minutes left, but Whittell pulled away again by a basket, going up 43-41 with two minutes left.
The final minutes of the game were a blur of more Whittell fouls, allowing North Tahoe a chance to pull away at the free throw line. Dropping only one of four foul shots blew the Lakers’ opportunity, however, and Whittell stayed ahead 43-42.
With 30 seconds left, Whittell sealed the deal with an open layup and a subsequent foul shot.
Laker head coach Mike Williams was disappointed by the loss but proud of his team’s effort.
“The team continues to put forth a great effort,” he said. “We just weren’t able to knock down our outside shots.”
Whittell’s patient zone defense threw off the Laker offense as well, Williams said.
“They packed it in on us with a zone defense,” the coach said. “We weren’t able to penetrate to run our inside offense.”
The loss dropped North Tahoe’s league record to 2-11. The Lakers are currently in seventh place in the Northern 2A league, yet still have a shot at the zone playoffs if they win their next two games.
The Lakers play their final home game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Hawthorne before wrapping up the regular season at ROP on Saturday.