North Tahoe basketball | Girls rally to defeat Whittell | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe basketball | Girls rally to defeat Whittell

Joe Proudman
Tahoe Daily Tribune

Joe Proudman / Tahoe Daily TribuneNorth Tahoe senior Irene Rojas fights through Gisselle Benitez's defense during the Lakers' 31-24 win.

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. and#8212; North Tahoe coach Rick Buhler can’t figure out why his team struggles on the road. During its previous trip to the South Shore, a late start cost the Lakers a Mount Rose win over South Tahoe. And on Tuesday, they needed a second-half surge to take home a 31-24 victory over winless Whittell.

and#8220;It’s something we got to work on, because if we do what we’re suppose to do, we’ll make zones,and#8221; Buhler said.

Whittell started the game up 9-2 at the end of the first quarter, and went into the half leading 15-10. The Warriors were without standout Amanda Harris, who is done for the season with an ankle injury, and without head coach Tom Esposito, who was suspended for a game after being ejected in Whittell’s match against South Tahoe on Friday.

The team leaned on Emily Harris, who had 16 of Whittell’s 24 points on Tuesday. She said the Warriors didn’t expect to do so well without her sister and coach.

and#8220;Without Amanda it’s been tough, because she’s who I look to when I’m in trouble. But other girls are stepping up,and#8221; she said. and#8220;Without a coach we though it was going to be tough.and#8221;

In the end, though, it was the Lakers who made the game tough on the Warriors.

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The Lakers went on a seven-point run to start the second half, grabbing a 17-15 lead before Jenny Shepack tied it up with a quick shot from just in front of the free-throw line that banked off the glass. After both teams missed a set of free throws, Emily Harris regained the lead for Whittell, scoring on her own offensive rebound.

The Warriors looked to get a break as North Tahoe traveled on its next possession, but the Warriors gave it right back with a walk of their own, leading to an Irene Rojas two-pointer with one second left in the third, tying the game at 19.

The Lakers struck first in the fourth, with Mago Olivares nailing a bucket to give North Tahoe a lead it would never give up. Emily Harris made it 21-20 at the line, but the Lakers pulled away as their point guard, Liz Buhler, took over with eight points in the final minutes, including a three-pointer and a basket plus one after being fouled. North Tahoe went on a 10-4 run to end the game.

and#8220;We’re lucky to get a win,and#8221; coach Buhler said. and#8220;It is a win, though, so we’ll take it.and#8221;

The Lakers even out to 3-3 in Mount Rose League play, while the Warriors are 0-8 in league.