North Tahoe basketball: Boys rally late in close loss to Loyalton | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe basketball: Boys rally late in close loss to Loyalton

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

Sylas Wright/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe senior Mitchell Conn goes up for a layup against Loyalton on Tuesday. Conn led the Lakers with 24 points. To view more photos from the game, go to www.sierrasun.com/photos.

DOLLAR HILL and#8212; Mitchell Conn played like a beast in the paint to keep his team in the game, and Brett Roberts sank two clutch 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter as the Lakers nearly pulled off a comeback win against visiting Loyalton on Tuesday.

and#8220;We lost by two points at Loyalton last week, so we felt like we really had a chance to get them at home,and#8221; said North Tahoe head coach Mike Williams. and#8220;But turnovers and some missed easy buckets did us in.and#8221;

The Lakers energized their sizable home crowd with a late push that cut a double-digit lead to two points with 21 seconds remaining. But the Grizzlies made their free throws down the final stretch to earn the 63-57 victory.

Roberts sparked the comeback with a couple of huge buckets in the final minute.

The junior guard drained a 3-point shot with 50 seconds on the clock to cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 56-52, then hit another 3 with 35 seconds remaining to narrow the margin to 58-55.

After a Loyalton free throw, Roberts drew a foul on a 3-point attempt and made two of three at the line to bring the score to 59-57. The timely scoring outburst gave Roberts 15 points in the game, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter alone.

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Conn, a 6-4 senior forward, had a monster game overall, scoring a team-high 24 points while hoarding rebounds and banging with Loyalton’s big post players. Conn put up 16 points in the first half, when he helped the Lakers reel in the Grizzlies with 7-0 run to end the second quarter, bringing the score to 29-28.

Loyalton stepped up its full-court pressure in the third quarter, denying the Lakers the breakaway layups earned in the first half by breaking through the press. Junior point guard Trevor Trimm used his quickness to convert many of those first-half layups in a 13-point effort for the Lakers.

and#8220;We got sloppy in breaking the press,and#8221; Williams said of the third quarter, when North Tahoe was outscored 14-5. and#8220;When we broke the press we were able to get great looks. When we tried to dribble through it is where we ran into problems.and#8221;

The Lakers cleaned up their game in the fourth quarter, coming back after falling behind 43-33 by the end of the third. But as Williams said, their fourth-quarter rally simply was and#8220;not enough to bridge the gapand#8221; after falling behind after the half.

Junior big man Justin Blend contributed five points for the Lakers, while Loyalton senior Dylon Gravelle led all scorers with 26 points.

North Tahoe made 15 of 27 free throws in the nonleague game, while Conn converted eight of 13 from the free-throw line.