North Tahoe basketball: Laker girls, boys tune up before league play
Virginia City was just tough enough to provide a timely test for the Laker girls on Tuesday.
Fast and physical ” and with much in common with North Tahoe’s first league opponent Friday (Lovelock) ” host Virginia City brought out the best in the Lakers, who stormed from behind to earn a hard-fought 58-51 nonleague win.
“I told the kids it was a good tune-up for Lovelock, because (the two teams) play similar styles,” said North Tahoe head coach Scott Conn.
The Muckers took control early, jumping out to a 15-8 lead by the end of the first quarter before the Lakers settled in. The second quarter was a different story, as the Lakers scored 21 points to enter the half trailing 30-29.
North Tahoe never let off the throttle in the second half.
Led by Brit Johnson’s team-high 19 points ” nine of which came on 3-pointers ” the Lakers took a 43-41 lead into the final quarter and extending it until the final whistle.
“I could not be more proud of them,” Conn said. “Once they took the lead they never looked back. If Virginia City scored a bucket, we came right back and scored on them immediately.”
Johnson was followed in the scoring department by seniors Kelly Hester and Shannon Stack with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Lakers’ defense was equally impressive, Conn said.
“The real key to us winning was keying on their star player, who still scored 20 points, but only seven in the second half and zero in the fourth quarter,” the coach said, explaining that Johnson and Sydney Courcier combined to hold the Muckers’ leading scorer in check.
“Brit and Syd shut her down. They were on her tight. Wherever she went, they went.”
Conn also was impressed with his post players’ toughness, which he has made a point of emphasis early in the season.
“Shelby Adams and Shannon Stack were extremely physical, especially in the second half,” Conn said. “I couldn’t be happier. It was the perfect time to gel. Now when we’re in a dog fight like that, we know we can win.”
North Tahoe routed Greenville (Calif.) 73-14 on the road Monday.
Greenville, which gave the Lakers a run for their money last season, was down three senior starters due to academic ineligibility issues. With such a depleted team, the coach asked Conn if he would agree to treat the game as a training exercise for both squads. Conn agreed.
“She told us what she wanted us to run, so it was not a true test of the team’s capabilities,” he said, adding the game played out like a scrimmage. “Despite that, I held my team to a high standard.”
Courcier caught fire offensively, scoring a game-high 22 points, while junior Monica Estrada and Stack each posted 13 points and Hester 10. Conn said he was pleased with the scoring effort from Estrada, who started the season on junior varsity before being called up to varsity before the Trojan Classic Tournament on Dec. 11-13.
The Laker boys posted an impressive 47-39 win over host Virginia City on Tuesday, one night after routing a short-handed Greenville squad 49-14 on the road.
North Tahoe competed with just seven players in both nonleague games.
Senior shooting guard Armando Paniagua had a monster game against Virginia City, finishing with 22 points, while junior forward Mitchell Conn posted 10 points in his first game back from a neck injury stemming from football season.
In his first year out for varsity, senior center James Laughlin led the Lakers against Greenville with 17 points. He could have scored more, but North Tahoe coach Mike Williams said he didn’t want to run the score up on the host team, which was down four players.
The coach was particularly pleased with his team’s performance against Virginia City.
“We did a great job rebounding and moving the ball and not giving up second shots,” Williams said.