Boys basketball team beats rival
Maybe it was the raucous student sections exchanging verbal blows across the court. It could have been the presence of a normally absent band, or even the fresh array of handcrafted signs filling wall space.
Whatever it was, one didn’t have to read “North Tahoe Lakers” across the visiting team’s jerseys to figure out that Truckee’s longtime rival was in the building Wednesday night.
And in what was likely the last league meeting between the two schools ” North Tahoe is to drop to independent status next year before settling in to the Northern 2A the following year ” the Wolverines ended on a good note: By edging the Lakers 46-42.
“That game was fun because it was the last time we’ll ever play (North Tahoe),” said junior post player Cory Hoehn, who finished with a double-double on 10 points and 10 rebounds. About the rambunctious crowd: “That was nice,” Hoehn said. “I liked that a lot.”
Truckee head coach Keith Crawford did, too.
“It was great to see the gym packed tonight,” Crawford said. “I wish it was like that every (home game) … It was a great atmosphere in here.”
Senior guard and team scoring leader Jason Chapman, whose 19 points and nine rebounds played a big role in the win, also appreciates what the rivalry brings.
“(North Tahoe) is probably the best two games out of the year that we play,” Chapman said, referring back to the 54-52 Truckee win at North Tahoe Dec. 14.
John Hooper, a senior guard who has emerged as Truckee’s go-to defender, broke down the win in simple terms.
“We just tried to play smart and play under control … (and) keep them from scoring while not turning the ball over,” he said.
Chapman summed up his team’s performance in less words, attributing “focus and hustle” to the crucial victory ” a victory that kept the now 4-7 Wolverines’ playoff hopes alive.
The Lakers enjoyed their largest lead early, at 7-4, before Hooper evened the score with a three-point basket. Hoehn then put the Wolverines on top with a bucket in the paint, and junior guard Cole Froelich followed the next time down the floor with a nice offensive rebound and putback.
Truckee attained its largest lead, at 26-16, after Chapman buried consecutive three-pointers midway through the second quarter. But an 11-2 North Tahoe run in the final minutes before the half cut Truckee’s lead to one.
North Tahoe hit a three-point shot at the start of the third quarter to pull ahead 30-28. The lead bounced back and forth until an offensive drought by both teams left Truckee ahead 37-35 for several minutes between the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth.
During the scoring drought, Chapman stole the ball at midcourt, drove down the floor and on his layup attempt was bumped hard by a North Tahoe defender ” but no foul was called. Chapman landed on his side with a loud thump. Holding his right shoulder, Chapman picked himself up slowly before returning to the play on the other end. Despite the injury, the transfer from Mendocino County continued to play hard, even hurling himself three rows deep into the band section shortly thereafter to save a ball heading out of bounds.
Both teams found the scoring touch again with a little under five minutes to play. With a minute left, Chapman scored on a slashing drive through traffic to put his team up 44-41. The remaining time slowly dwindled away while the Lakers committed fouls to stop the clock.
A couple free throws later time expired, and Truckee walked away with a 46-42 victory.
“The game went as planned,” Crawford said. “I didn’t want it to be that close, though … Now our big thing is, we got five more games, and we’d like to get five more wins.”
Jason Chapman: 10 points, 9 rebounds
Cory Hoehn: 10 points, 10 rebounds
Brandon Peterson: 9 points
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