Truckee basketball | Boys sharp in win over Vikings |

Truckee basketball | Boys sharp in win over Vikings

Sylas Wright / Sierra SunTruckee guard Nash McMullen pokes the ball away from South Tahoe's Bobby Perez on a fast break early in Tuesday's game. Truckee won 60-46.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Unfortunately for South Tahoe, the sharp-shooting, tough-defending version of the Truckee boys’ basketball team showed up Tuesday night.

In an intense Mount Rose League battle with playoff implications, the host Wolverines set the tone with a big first quarter that led to a 60-46 win and#8212; despite a second-half comeback threat by the Vikings.

and#8220;We knew we had to get this one to get in the playoffs,and#8221; said Truckee junior guard Graham Millie, who finished with 10 points. and#8220;Coach told us to come out and play as hard as we could for 32 minutes.and#8221;

Truckee improved to 4-2 in Mount Rose League play while South Tahoe fell to 4-3. The Vikings have three more league games on their schedule and#8212; Sparks (4-2), Incline (5-1) and North Tahoe (0-5) and#8212; and the Wolverines have four and#8212; North Tahoe, Sparks, Whittell (1-6) and Incline. Only the top two 3A schools in the MRL advance to the postseason.

and#8220;We needed to beat those guys,and#8221; Truckee coach Angelo Tenorio said. and#8220;But there’s still a long ways to go.and#8221;

Neither team suffered from a lack of effort Tuesday.

Truckee gained momentum early thanks to David Burnham and Trent McMullen, who combined to score the team’s first 12 points en route to a 12-3 lead, which was 16-5 by the end of the quarter and 27-16 at the half.

and#8220;We didn’t execute in the first half, and that made it hard to get back in it,and#8221; said South Tahoe head coach Chris Proctor.

With both teams competing hard, the game was physical from start to finish. Things also got chippy at times. At one point early in the third quarter, South Tahoe’s big man, Cale Backinger, fouled Millie hard on a fast break. As the two exchanged words while Millie walked to the free-throw line, Truckee senior Clayton O’Connell stepped in and halted Backinger’s stride with a shoulder check, drawing a technical foul. South Tahoe also drew a technical in the first half.

Play remained physical after the break as Backinger fouled out in the third quarter, leaving the Vikings shorter than usual inside. The Wolverines took advantage, using their length to pull down rebounds and score in the post.

The Vikings received a spark off the bench when Proctor inserted recent JV call-up Franco Harris into the lineup late in the second quarter. Harris, a quick guard, made his presence felt almost immediately, as he stole a pass and took it coast to coast.

Using three straight buckets by Burnham, Truckee opened the third quarter with a 10-2 run to push the score to 37-18. But Harris again came in and provided a boost. He stole a pass and converted an athletic layup in traffic, then hit consecutive three-pointers to bring the score back to 37-27.

The Wolverines answered with a 6-0 run as they extended their lead to 45-31 by the end of the quarter. Truckee guard Trevor Mort, at 5 foot 10, contributed four of the points by sneaking behind the South Tahoe defense and scoring inside, which he did again early in the fourth.

and#8220;They were putting a lot of pressure up top and not taking care of the weak side, and Trevor’s a strong kid, so he can score inside,and#8221; Tenorio explained.

Desperate for points, South Tahoe employed an aggressive full-court press in the fourth that caused Truckee issues with turnovers. After the lead grew to 51-33, the Vikings began chipping away, as Jacob Stowell scored two of his 12 points off of a turnover, Miltaye Vasquez drained a three, Brandon Cramer sunk two free throws and Stowell followed with two more baskets in the post to trim the score to 51-44 with about 3 minutes left.

and#8220;I told the kids, and#8216;You worked so hard to build this big lead, don’t give it back to them,’and#8221; Tenorio said. and#8220;It doesn’t take much for momentum to swing in this league.and#8221;

McMullen put a stop to the run with a pair of clutch free throws as the Vikings began fouling to stop the clock. Although the Wolverines still managed to put the Vikings away at the line late, both teams struggled at the charity stripe throughout the contest, with Truckee converting only 12 of its 26 free throws and South Tahoe making six out of 16.

McMullen posted a game-high 14 points, while Burnham finished with 11 points and Erik Holmer nine. Harris led the Vikings with 13 points, including eight straight in the third quarter, while Stowell scored 12.

and#8220;David Burnham had a great game. He started our momentum in the first half and the second,and#8221; said Tenorio, who also complimented the play of McMullen. and#8220;And our guards, Nash and Graham, did a great job. They played good defense and worked hard to take care of the ball.and#8221;

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