North Tahoe girls basketball: Lakers place 3rd in Tahoe Invitational Tipoff Tournament | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe girls basketball: Lakers place 3rd in Tahoe Invitational Tipoff Tournament

Sun Staff report

Sylas Wright/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe sophomore Iren Rojas dribbles the ball up court during the Tahoe Invitational Tipoff Tournament on Friday night.

DOLLAR HILL and#8212; The host Lakers went 2-1 and earned third place in the inaugural Tahoe Invitational Tipoff Tournament this past weekend.

and#8220;I thought it was a very successful tournament,and#8221; said Lakers head coach Scott Conn. and#8220;Every single coach, on their evaluation form, said it was the best tournament they’d ever been to … It went off without a hitch.and#8221;

The season-opening tournament included eight small-school teams from California and Nevada, although Conn said he’d like to expand it to 12 or 16 teams next year.

North Tahoe started the tourney with a 59-28 win against Silver Stage (Nev.) on Thursday. The Lakers then lost to Loyalton (Calif.) 54-34 on Friday, and finished with a thrilling, 64-58 win against Smith Valley (Nev.) on Saturday.

and#8220;It truly was a team win,and#8221; Conn said of Saturday’s third-place game. and#8220;It was quite a battle.and#8221;

Smith Valley battled neck-and-neck with North Tahoe, eventually taking a four-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. But the Lakers never gave in en route to the comeback win, and for that Conn left proud of his squad’s effort.

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and#8220;Many teams I’ve coached would have folded. But these girls showed heart,and#8221; Conn said. and#8220;I was very proud. There’s no quit in these kids.and#8221;

The Lakers’ lone post player, sophomore Samantha Jeffers, played solid basketball throughout the tournament, averaging 23.3 points in the three games, and leading the Lakers with 29 points in Saturday’s third-place game. Coaches took notice, voting her the tournament’s Most Valuable Player in addition to her spot on the All-Tournament team.

and#8220;She was just a dominant force in the paint,and#8221; Conn said. and#8220;Every time we got her the ball, it didn’t matter if she had a taller girl on her, she had multiple moves and was able to score and rebound … She’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.and#8221;

In the championship game Saturday, Liberty Christian out of Redding, Calif., routed Loyalton (Calif.) 59-24. Other schools in the tournament included Incline, Lutheran (Calif.) and Julian (Calif.).