Laker hoops comes up short vs. Portola |

Laker hoops comes up short vs. Portola

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe guard Sydney Courcier looks for a passing lane against Portola on Wednesday.

After two weeks of holiday break and three postponed games, the North Tahoe girls basketball team returned to its home court against Portola on Wednesday. Despite hustling hard and keeping the game close, the Lakers dropped the nonleague contest 45-36.

The game got started with even play as both teams adjusted to the court. Few shots fell for either team, however, and the first quarter ended tied at 6-6.

Starting the second quarter, Portola began to dominate offensive play. The Lakers couldn’t match their opponent’s solid post passing and aggressive rebounding.

North Tahoe coach Scott Conn was not surprised by Portola’s ability.

“Portola is a really good team,” the coach said. “They are disciplined and execute their offense very well.”

Despite the tough competition, the Laker girls stayed focused and finished the half down by only four, at 18-14.

Hitting the floor in the second half, North Tahoe looked energized. Though the Lakers’ shooting was still inconsistent, they got good looks off of crisp passes and ran the floor with better organization than in the first half.

Portola did not back down, however, and continued playing solid on both ends of the court. The third quarter ended with Portola up 28-23.

The final quarter found the Lakers back on the defensive as they rallied to shut down the Portola offensive machine. Fouls ensued, putting Portola in the bonus and players at the free throw line. When the clocked finally stopped, Portola had extended its lead to nine points.

The loss dropped the Lakers’ overall record to 3-7, but coach Conn was still pleased with his team’s performance.

“I felt we played our best game of the season defensively,” Conn said. “Kacie Conn did an especially good job shutting down one of their top players.”

Offensively, the Lakers were led by guard Kelly Hester with 10 points and guard Sydney Courcier with eight points. The team shot only 25 percent from the field, a statistic Conn understood.

“I attribute our low shooting percentage to rust from the long holiday break and the canceled games,” Conn said. “I was pleased with our offensive execution, but the shots just didn’t fall.”

With the Lakers finally set to begin league play Friday, Conn emphasized that they were ready.

“From this point forward the games really count,” he said. “We have to be ready for league play and we are.”

The North Tahoe boys basketball team lost a nonleague game 60-40 against Portola on Wednesday.

Leading the team in scoring was senior Mike Basile with 14 points and senior Eric Holman with 10.

Lakers head coach Mike Williams said the loss stemmed from “missed layups and getting out-rebounded.”

North Tahoe hosts its first league game against Battle Mountain on Friday. Girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys at 7:30 p.m.

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