North Tahoe basketball: Laker girls win big, boys drop home opener |

North Tahoe basketball: Laker girls win big, boys drop home opener

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunLaker guard Kelly Hester goes up for two of her 18 points against Loyalton in North Tahoe's home opener Tuesday night. The Lakers won 61-35.

Tahoe City ” The North Tahoe basketball teams hosted the Loyalton Grizzlies in their home openers Tuesday. The nonleague contests were a rematch of the previous week’s match-ups that played out in Loyalton.

The results played out the same, as the Laker girls won handily while the boys fought hard in a losing effort.

For Laker head coach Scott Conn, the game got started perfectly according to plan.

“The past several games we have started slow. Our goal for this game was to come out hot and the girls did a great job, scoring 19 points in the first quarter,” said Conn, whose team ultimately ran away with a 61-35 rout.

Backing up the strong offensive play, the Lakers (2-3 overall) took it to the Grizzlies on the other end of the court, holding them to six points in the first quarter.

Starting the second quarter the Lakers turned on the full-court press, which further unnerved Loyalton. Meanwhile, the Laker scoring continued with senior guard Kelly Hester leading the charge. At halftime the score stood at 31-11.

The Lakers charged on after the halftime break, starting the third quarter with a seven-point run. By the time the quarter was over the spread had widened dramatically to 52-18. Solid free-throw shooting, offensive putbacks and swishing field goals earned the Lakers the massive margin.

With an eye toward preparing for league play, Conn got the whole team involved in the fourth quarter, giving the entire squad valuable game time to work out early-season kinks.

Three North Tahoe players scored in double figures. Hester led Lakers scorers with 18 points while Brit Johnson contributed 13 points and Shelby Adams dropped in 12.

Conn was pleased to take the win, citing his team’s ability to create turnovers as one of their successes.

“We still have a few things to work on, but the difference in the game was that when we forced turnovers, we hung on to the ball and capitalized,” he said.

Though the Lakers boys showed promise ” forcing turnovers, snatching offensive rebounds, converting breakaways ” the Grizzlies were the better of the two teams again Tuesday, using a coordinated offense to score steadily throughout the match and take the win, 46-31.

Both teams showed signs of early-season jitters, and as a result most points were scored in the paint or on the free throw line ” neither team had much success shooting from outside. The Lakers did charge back in the fourth quarter, however, narrowing the margin with strong putbacks by senior center James Laughlin and a three-pointer by senior guard Chris Cahill.

Cahill led the team in scoring, tossing in 11 points while Laughlin put up nine.

Lakers head coach Mike Williams looked to the positive after the game.

“We have some work to do to be competitive, but we will only get better from here,” he said.

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