Lakers storm back to beat Loyalton |

Lakers storm back to beat Loyalton

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe senior Carlos Lara breaks away for a layup against visiting Loyalton on Tuesday.

The North Tahoe boys basketball team got its season off to a roaring start Tuesday with a spirited non-league win over Loyalton.

Battling back from a 10-point halftime deficit, the Lakers dominated second-half play to win 55-48.

As the game started both teams came out running hard and fast. The Lakers got on the board first, but the Grizzlies’ consistent shooting put them ahead 15-10 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, North Tahoe’s offense sputtered and Loyalton pulled significantly ahead. The Lakers didn’t give up, however, and a flurry of shots, including a layup following a stolen inbound pass by guard Mike Basile, kept the margin at 10. The game went to halftime with Loyalton up 33-23.

North Tahoe coach Mike Williams pegged defensive strategy as one of the reasons the Lakers were down at the half.

“We were really flat in the first half and gave up a lot of open jumpers in a zone defense,” Williams said. “Our defensive energy increased when we went man to man in the second half.”

Storming out of halftime, the Lakers came alive as forward Eric Holman and Basile set the tone with an aggressive mid-court press and slicing attacks at the basket.

The tenacious play paid off, as North Tahoe outscored Loyalton 19-5 in the third quarter to take a 42-38 lead into the fourth.

Going into the final quarter both Loyalton and North Tahoe played like it was now or never. The fouls started flying and the shots got more desperate as the score remained tight.

It wasn’t until the final four minutes of the game that North Tahoe finally found some breathing room, going up by nine points. Though Loyalton dropped the margin a few before the final whistle, the Lakers hung on for the 55-48 win.

Williams was thrilled with the season-opening victory.

“The second half really couldn’t have gone better for us,” he said. “I was very happy with the entire team’s performance. Hopefully it sets the tone for the rest of the season.”

Holman led the Lakers in scoring with 14 points, followed by Basile and David Rodriguez, who each had 10 points.

“We worked real hard on the court tonight,” Holman said. “We didn’t let the halftime score bother us.”

North Tahoe (1-0) plays today in the Quincy Tournament.

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