North Tahoe basketball | Lakers play final league games against Vikings |

North Tahoe basketball | Lakers play final league games against Vikings

Staff report

The Lakers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they won’t have to face their largest Mount Rose League opponent again.

In their final meeting of the season against South Tahoe on Tuesday, the visiting North Tahoe boys and girls basketball teams could not keep pace with the Vikings, as the boys lost 72-39 and the girls 50-34.

Next year, however, the Division III and Division I-A schools will no longer be in the same league, or pod, as the NIAA is scrapping the four-year-old pod system that combined DIII and D-IA schools.

The Laker boys got off to a slow start, scoring only four points to the Vikings’ 15 in the first quarter. North Tahoe (8-12, 2-5) recovered to outscore the hosts 17-12 in the second quarter, which shaved the lead to 27-21 by the half.

But South Tahoe (11-9, 5-1) took complete control after the break, outscoring the Lakers 22-4 in the third quarter to pull away.

“We did a great job until halftime. The second half we just went cold,” said North Tahoe coach Frank Wright.

Junior point guard Alex Tyler scored a game-high 19 points and dished out six assists, going 3-for-5 from 3-point range, while Colin Spencer scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Mitchell Myers had seven points and seven rebounds.

John Espiritu led the Vikings with 18 points, matching Tyler’s 3-for-5 on 3-point attempts, and Cale Backinger had 15 points.

The North Tahoe girls played the Vikings relatively evenly through three and a half quarters before coming up short. They trailed 12-8 after the first quarter, 26-18 at the half and 35-27 at the end of three quarters.

North Tahoe coach Rick Buhler said the Lakers could have made things more interesting had they converted a higher percentage from the field.

“We spotted them eight (points), and then we hung between six and eight most of the game. We didn’t get outplayed by them. We just couldn’t make 2-footers,” Buhler said. “It’s been our Achilles’ heel all year. When we make our layups, we win. When we miss 2-footers, we lose.”

It didn’t help that the Lakers (8-10, 2-5) lost sophomore guard Sara Trimm, who left with a concussion and will miss the rest of the regular season.

Senior guard Liz Buhler led the Lakers with 12 points, while Angela Wood had 11 points. Savannah App finished with 10 rebounds and Taylor Briggs and Buhler each pulled down nine rebounds. Brooke King scored 12 points to lead the Vikings (10-10, 5-1).

UP NEXT: North Tahoe will host Incline for its senior farewell on Saturday, girls at 2 p.m. and boys at 3:30. The Lakers then end the regular season at Sparks on Tuesday and at Truckee on Friday, Feb. 8.

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