North Tahoe basketball: Boys rout Whittell, improve to 2-1 in league |

North Tahoe basketball: Boys rout Whittell, improve to 2-1 in league

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe senior James Laughlin grabs a rebound over teammate Juan Medina and a Whittell player during the Lakers' 51-35 win Tuesday night.

TAHOE CITY ” Third-quarter lapse and all, the Lakers dominated Tuesday’s Northern 2A showdown with Whittell.

North Tahoe jumped all over the visitors from the onset, locking down on defense while slicing to the rim nearly at will on the offensive end and scorching the net from outside.

The result: a 51-35 win and a 2-1 Northern 2A league record. Whittell fell to 0-3 in league.

“It was great,” senior guard Armando Paniagua said of the Lakers’ performance. “We were really into it and ready to play.”

Paniagua and junior forward Mitchell Conn led the charge, finishing with 12 points apiece. They impacted the game with opposite yet complimentary styles ” Paniagua using quickness to blast past defenders when not popping shots at range, and Conn scoring inside with strong post moves.

Everything was flowing beautifully until the midway point, as the Lakers led 19-7 at the end of the first quarter and, after holding the Warriors to just three points in the second quarter, 31-10 at the half.

With the rout seemingly in hand, North Tahoe let up its intensity after the break. The Warriors took advantage, whittling down the lead to 11 points, 37-26, by the end of the third after an ice-cold first half.

“We had a great first half and a terrible second half,” said North Tahoe head coach Mike Williams. “Whittell came back strong in the second half. We fell asleep, and they took it to us.”

Three straight Laker buckets to open the fourth put an end to the Warriors’ run, and North Tahoe never looked back en route to the double-digit win.

“In the second half we kind of fell apart. But we pulled it together,” Conn said. … “We need to work on playing all the way through and not letting teams back in the game.”

It starts with taking care of the ball, Williams said, adding that turnovers hurt North Tahoe most in the third quarter.

“In the fourth quarter they woke up and asserted themselves on defense and stopped turning the ball over. We had way too many turnovers in the third quarter,” the coach said.

Senior center James Laughlin was a beast in the paint from start to finish, contributing eight points while controlling the boards with sheer size and strength. Other Lakers helped hoard rebounds and keep Whittell’s big men in check.

“I think getting rebounds was the main thing,” Paniagua said.

Alex Potnick led the Warriors with 13 points, and Alex Vogt chipped in 12 points.

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