Lakers score first win |

Lakers score first win

Seth Lightycap/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe Guard Kelly Hester puts up a jumpshot against Loyalton Tuesday. Hester had 20 points in North Tahoe's 56-23 win.

The North Tahoe girls basketball team tipped off another season Tuesday with a non-conference home game against Loyalton. Fired up from the first whistle, the Laker girls got the season off to a great start with a decisive 56-23 win.

As the first quarter got underway, North Tahoe’s starting five immediately showed signs of experience. Well-executed inbound plays, swarming defense and aggressive offense put the Lakers up 14-3 at the end of quarter. North Tahoe guard Kelly Hester and forward Shelby Adams led the charge, both on their way to 20 points each for the game.

Loyalton fought back in the second quarter, scoring nearly as many points as North Tahoe, but the Lakers first-quarter attack kept them up 22-10 going into halftime.

North Tahoe head coach Scott Conn understood the up-and-down performance.

“We played a little sloppy in the first half, but that was to be expected,” the coach said. “There were a lot of nerves as it’s been a year since the girls have played together.”

Conn must have had inspirational things to say at halftime, as the Lakers came out in the third quarter and outscored Loyalton 18-5. Consistent shots from the paint and good hustle off the bench contributed to the effort. Going into the fourth quarter, North Tahoe led 40-15.

The fourth quarter began exactly as the game had started, with solid Laker mid-court defensive pressure and good offensive rebounding. When the final whistle blew, the Laker girls had won their first home game, 56-23. Conn was understandably excited about the win.

“I was extremely happy with our performance for the first game of the season,” Conn said. “We played awesome defense. It just took a little while to get the offense going.”

Awesome defense was not an understatement, as the Lakers had 27 steals and 22 forced turnovers. North Tahoe’s offense was no slouch either, shooting 44 percent from the field. Conn made note that the offense was both balanced and record-setting.

“Seven out of my 10 players scored points, but, this is the first time in North Tahoe women’s basketball history that a forward and a guard have both scored 20 points in a game,” Conn said, referring to Hester and Adams.

Despite the two leading scorers’ total of 40 points, Conn emphasized it was a team win.

“It was our offensive teamwork that got Hester and Adams open to score points,” Conn said. “Without great passing and screens from the entire team it wouldn’t have been possible.”

The Lakers (1-0) travel to Marin County for the Marin Academy Basketball Tournament this weekend. North Tahoe’s next home game is Dec. 11 against Sparks.

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