North Tahoe basketball | Battered boys hold off Lions on homecoming
Northern Division III boys standings
West Wendover 7-0
Battle Mountain 4-3
North Tahoe 3-2
Pershing County 3-3
White Pine 3-4
Silver Stage 0-5
TAHOE CITY — Bloodied and sickly, the North Tahoe boys did not look like victors after their most recent Division III clash.
“It was definitely a weird game. Everyone was getting hacked and smacked in the face,” said North Tahoe senior point guard Alex Tyler, himself a victim of a bloody nose inflicted by visiting Yerington on Friday.
Despite three stoppages due to North Tahoe bloody noses, and with a majority of the team suffering from illness, the Lakers held off an aggressive Yerington charge in the fourth quarter to earn a 52-43 league win.
“The kids did a good job,” said North Tahoe coach Frank Wright. “They gave us a lot of pressure on the press, and because of foul trouble we had guys in unfamiliar positions. But overall they did a good job. We got the league win. That’s all that matters.”
Ultimately, the Lakers got the job done at the free-throw line. They scored 15 points to Yerington’s 14 in the fourth quarter, with all 15 points coming on free throws as the Lions resorted to fouling until the final seconds — which, combined with the injury timeouts, stretched the contest into a seemingly never-ending affair.
North Tahoe got off to a sluggish start, falling behind 11-5 by the end of the first quarter. The hosts heated up in the second quarter, however, feeding off the energy of their lively winter homecoming crowd to take over the lead for good with an 8-0 run late in the half.
Using a harassing brand of defense, North Tahoe built on its 24-21 halftime lead with a well-played third quarter, which ended with the Lakers up 37-29. They led by as many as 11, at 36-25.
The Lions switched to a full-court press late in the third quarter and maintained the pressure throughout the fourth. The press disrupted the Lakers’ rhythm, and Yerington climbed back to within five points, 39-34, with a free throw by sophomore center Sam Hammond with 4:47 remaining.
The Lakers limped to the finish line. Senior guard Alex Bourriague came out of the game twice in the second half, once for a bloody nose and once after sacrificing his body on a diving play. Omar Vargas and Tyler also had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with bloody noses, while junior forward Mitchell Myers fouled out early in the fourth. Multiple Lakers coughed with sickness every time play stopped.
“They’re all sick,” Wright said. “We’re like the walking wounded. But we got through it.”
Tyler led all scorers with 18 points. Senior guard Noah McDermott created havoc on defense along with Tyler and Bourriague and finished with 13 points, while Bourriague contributed nine points and junior forward Miles Johanson had eight. Dakota Aiazzi scored 12 points to lead the Lions. Hammond added 11 points and Cortez Berumen 10.
“Our defense was killer; our offense toward the end was pretty bad. I shot awful,” Tyler said. “But it definitely was a big win. We had to win this one. They took us down in the Whittell Tournament (39-37 on Dec. 12). Now we just got to keep it going.”
With their second consecutive league win, the Lakers moved into fourth place in the Northern Division III standings with a 3-2 record. Yerington, which defeated second-place Incline 56-48 on Saturday, is 3-4 in league play.
North Tahoe is scheduled to play at Incline (4-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.