North Tahoe basketball: Boys lose double-overtime thriller
After the holiday break, North Tahoe resumes league play at rival Incline on Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
TAHOE CITY — North Tahoe boys basketball coach Frank Wright learned something about his team in its first league game Friday: The Lakers have a knack for hitting clutch shots.
After climbing back from a 13-point deficit in the second half against visiting Battle Mountain, the Lakers forced overtime with a crowd-igniting three-pointer as time expired — then duplicated the feat with a buzzer-beating three-pointer four minutes later to send the game into double overtime.
The hosts finally ran out of magic in the second overtime period, however, as the Longhorns outscored the Lakers 10-3 to escape with a 62-55 win.
“The fans certainly got their money’s worth,” Wright said. “We hung in there. I’m proud of the kids. They did a great job. You can never count our guys out.”
With tired legs from the intense battle, both teams dropped league games the following day, with North Tahoe falling 73-52 to West Wendover and Battle Mountain coming up short, 52-43, at Incline.
Friday’s opener could have gone either way.
The teams played an evenly matched first quarter before the Longhorns pulled in front 27-19 by the half. The visitors took their largest lead early in the third quarter, 37-24, before the Lakers began to chip away.
Sophomore point guard Ted Gibeaut drained two of his five three-pointers in the third quarter and senior guard Andy Morgan ended the frame with a three as North Tahoe cut the lead to six, 40-34.
Morgan also locked down defensively against Battle Mountain senior Blake Dorian in the second half, denying the sharp-shooting guard the ball with tight man defense as the rest of the team remained in a zone. After hitting five three-pointers through the first three quarters, Morgan and the Lakers held Dorian scoreless in the fourth — and held the Longhorns to just three points in the period.
“That number five (Dorian) was a problem. He’s their best shooter, so we wanted to deny him from getting the ball,” Wright said. “Andy did a great job of that.”
Three consecutive baskets by Nick Joslin, Trent Lingruen and Morgan trimmed the Battle Mountain lead to two before Dorian made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 30 seconds remaining.
Needing three to tie, the Lakers swung the ball around the the perimeter until it found the hands of Lingruen, who worked into a pocket of open space to his right and pulled up. The shot slashed through the net with 3 seconds on the clock, sending the large home crowd into a frenzy.
The Lakers again fell behind in OT as they spotted the Longhorns the first six points. Lingruen, who was held scoreless through the first three quarters, kept North Tahoe in the game with two big three-pointers, the second of which adjusted the score to 52-49 with 20 seconds left.
Again needing three to tie, freshman guard Murphy Scott launched a three that found nothing but net — again lighting up the home crowd and Lakers bench. With seconds remaining, Dorian received the inbound pass and heaved a nearly full-court shot that banged off the backboard and rim. Double overtime.
Battle Mountain scored the first seven points in the second OT, as well as the final three after Gibeaut hit the Lakers’ only shot in the frame.
“North Tahoe played harder than hell and hit some big shots. Hats off to North Tahoe,” Battle Mountain coach Roger Wallock said. “We made just enough shots at the end. We’re happy to get a league win on the road.”
Added Wright: “In this league, it’s going to be a fight every week. We lost one that we could have won. But we’ll get it back.”
Gibeaut finished with a team-high 17 points, while Joslin added 16 points, Lingruen had 11 and Morgan — who fouled out near the end of regulation — had eight. Dorian scored 18 points for the Longhorns and sophomore forward Chris Figueroa had 13.
The next day, North Tahoe ran out of gas against West Wendover in the third quarter, when the Wolverines scored 24 points to the Lakers’ 10 en route to a 21-point win. Joslin led the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Gibeaut scored 15. West Wendover junior forward Zade Elton led all scorers with 30 points on 13-of-21 from the field.
The Lakers are 0-2 in the Northern Division III and 4-7 overall. Battle Mountain and West Wendover are both 1-1 in league.